Capping a momentous journey, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday took oath as the eighth Chief Minister of Delhi, promising to make Delhi the first corruption-free state and act against communal elements. Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office and secrecy to Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and five other ministers at the historic Ramlila Ground here, exactly an year after Kejriwal quit after a short 49-days regime.
Asim Ahmed Khan, Sandeep Kumar, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai and Jitender Singh Tomar also took oath of office and secrecy at the ceremony as a large crowd cheered. Immediately, after taking oath, the 46-year-old leader addressed the gathering and unveiled the priorities of his government which included steps against corruption, communal elements, VIP culture and assured Delhiites that his government will fight for full statehood for the national capital.
Warning his party leaders and workers against arrogance, he said this was the reason for the defeat of Congress and the BJP, which had received huge majority in Lok Sabha polls just nine months ago. Terming the verdict as ‘miracle of God’, Kejriwal said, “I knew people of Delhi love me, but didn’t know they love me so much.”
The AAP had won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi decimating Congress and leaving only three seats for the BJP. Assuring people that his government will make Delhi “India’s first corruption-free state”, he said if somebody asks for bribe don’t refuse ‘setting ker lena’ (fix the deal) and video record it. Send the video footage to me. I will take action.”
Kejriwal, who shot into prominence during the agitation led by 75-year-old Anna Hazare in support of Jan Lokpal Bill in 2011, assured the people that his government will bring the bill soon. “Lokpal Bill is very important, it needs to be passed as soon as possible,” he said.
Reacting to recent attacks on churches and a Christian school yesterday in Delhi, he said, “In recent days, we witnessed several communal incidents in Delhi. We witnessed burning of churches. I want to warn the elements who are responsible for these incidents.” “I want to make Delhi a place where people of all religions feel safe,” says Kejriwal, asserting that people of all religions, castes and classes voted for AAP. Emphasising that he wants cooperation and good relations with the Centre, Kejriwal said BJP had promised to grant full statehood to Delhi.
“Before the elections, they had promised this to the people of Delhi. It’s not possible for the Centre to take care of important issues related with governance of the state, so I hope the Centre will fulfil their promise,” the Chief Minister said. Cautioning his party, he said, “I can see arrogance in reports that AAP will fight elections in other states…We have to make sure that we don’t get carried away and become arrogant.”
Asserting that his government will not spare anyone, he said, “Some people might try to malign us by impersonating as AAP workers. I want to tell the law and order machinery not to spare anyone who indulges in unlawful activities.”
During his address, Kejriwal also mentioned his opponents in the Delhi polls- BJP’s Kiran Bedi and Congress’ Ajay Maken. “I respect Kiran Bedi, she is like my elder sister. She has good experience in administration, I need her advice. I will cooperate with Ajay Maken too. I will involve everyone to make Delhi an ideal state,” the Chief Minister said.
Staring his address with “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, Kejriwal ended his nearly half-an-hour speech with singing AAP’s anthem ‘Insaan ka ho Insaan se Bhaichara’. Listing passing of the Lokpal Bill as a major agenda for his government, Kejriwal, however, did not give a time-line for its passage. “I would like to tell you that other parties haven’t passed it in 65 years. We would pass it as soon as possible. We would do everything in a solid way,” he said.
The new Chief Minister said his government would work round-the-clock to make Delhi a better city. The AAP leader also warned against any sort of arrogance following the massive victory. “I have been listening on television for the last few days that we will fight elections in five states or ten states. I see arrogance in all these things. “I think this is not right. Congress was thrown out of power by people due to its arrogance, and the same also happened to BJP which got a huge mandate in the Lok Sabha polls in May last year. People rejected the BJP due to its arrogance,” he said.
Kejriwal said AAP suffered a drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls perhaps due to arrogance after its victory in the 2013 assembly polls. “In 2013 assembly polls, we got 28 seats, but perhaps arrogance came into our party which decided to contest Lok Sabha elections across the country and for which, God punished us. We should take lesson from it. We should not be arrogant,” he said.
Kejriwal said that with the help of police his government will try to restore communal harmony in the city. “Efforts were made to incite riots among people of different religion, a church was set on fire, some churches were vandalised. People of Delhi are peace loving people. “We have not seen such incidents in Delhi in the last 35 years, people of Delhi won’t tolerate this. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, all residents of Delhi celebrate Diwali, Eid, Christmas and all festivals together. “All of us want to live here in harmony. I would like to tell all the forces that are doing this kind of politics to stop it,” he said.
He said with the support of Delhi Police, his government will make Delhi such a city where every Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and people belonging from every other religion and caste will feel safe. “We want to replace this politics of poison with politics of love and harmony,” he said.