M A I N   N E W S

Kejriwal vows new working style
Sworn in Delhi CM; shuns red beacons in first Cabinet meet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28
No motorcade, no designer wear. Wearing a simple blue sweater and his trademark Gandhi cap, Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday reached the historic Ramlila Maidan on a crowded Metro train to be sworn in as the seventh Chief Minister of Delhi.

As he took the oath of office and secrecy administered by Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, tens of thousands of jubilant supporters watched here and on live TV across the country. Along with Kejriwal, were sworn in six of his relatively youthful ministers (see box) Manish Sisodia, Girish Soni, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Jain, Saurabh Bharadwaj and Somnath Bharti amid a crescendo of cheers and claps.

The 45-year-old former revenue service official promised a corruption-free government and new style of governance without the arrogance of power and exhorted the ‘aam aadmi’ to come forward to root out corruption.

Addressing a massive gathering at the historic Ramlila Maidan, where he first came into the limelight during the Jan Lokpal agitation led by his one-time mentor Anna Hazare in 2011, Kejriwal hailed the formation of his government as the "victory of the common man".

In his 20-minute speech, the new Chief Minster pledged to deliver a corruption-free government while cautioning his ministers and workers against getting arrogant. "We were born to remove the arrogance of big parties. We should be wary that no other party has to take birth to dismantle us," he said.

Asserting that it was indeed a very historic day, Kejriwal said, "It is not Arvind Kejriwal who has taken the oath or six MLAs... everyone in the city has been sworn in as a minister.

The struggle was not about forming a government. It was about devolving power to the people. If we stand together, we will defeat corruption.”

The new Chief Minister said the huge responsibility thrust upon him has instilled a sense of fear in him. “Our education, hospitals and roads are bad because of our bad politics. I don't claim to have a magic wand or remedies for all the ills, but if the 1.5 crore people of Delhi join me, there is no reason why all the problems can't be solved. In the next five years, if we take the right steps I think India can become a golden bird."

He appealed to parties, including the Congress and the BJP, to support his government ahead of the January 2 floor test. “In case of a defeat in a no-confidence motion, we are ready for repoll in Delhi. We are sure of a massive win.” AAP won 28 out of 70 seats in its debut election in Delhi.

He asked the people to take a pledge to say “no to corruption” and said the new government would set up an anti-bribery helpline in some days. “Do not refuse to give a bribe, help us book the culprits,” he said.

Straight from the oath ceremony, Kejriwal went to Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, a short distance away and paid homage.

That the winds of change had arrived became evident with the AAP Government, in its first Cabinet meeting today afternoon at Delhi Secretariat, deciding to restrict use of red beacon by ministers and officials. Kejriwal said no Delhi Government official will use the red beacon and no officer or politician will take unnecessary security cover.

Kejriwal and his six ministers have decided not to stay in any government bungalow but instead live in modest flats, setting an unprecedented example of austerity in governance. He is looking for a government flat with a park nearby in Central Delhi to facilitate meetings with people.

Earlier, flaunting his 'aam admi' credentials, Kejriwal, who lives in a modest flat in Kaushambi in Ghaziabad, took a Metro train to Delhi to reach Barakhamba station, a distance of 20 km, from where he drove in his Maruti to Ramlila Maidan.

While Hazare and his associate Kiran Bedi kept away from the ceremony as did several political leaders, including outgoing Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called him up to congratulate him. His former mentor and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare sent his wishes for him and his new team in a letter, expressing his inability to attend his coronation on health grounds. BJP leader Harsh Vardhan, who would be the Leader of the Opposition in the new Assembly, was the lone prominent politician to be present. Kejriwal even praised him as an honest person. JD(U) MLA Shoiab Iqbal was also present. BJP senior leader and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi tweeted to wish him.

(With agency inputs)

Kejriwal invokes Anna

"Annaji used to say that politics is dirty, but to clear the muck one has to enter the muck... If we want to clean the system, then we will have to enter into this ‘dirty politics’"

Decision on power tariff, free water next week

The new Delhi Government will decide on its promise of supply of 700 litres of free water to each household and cutting down electricity charges early next week. "I have asked officials to work out. By Monday, I will be able to say something on water. On power, we will be able to say something by Tuesday or Wednesday," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said. AAP had promised to slash power tariff by 50 per cent.


The ‘aam aadmi’ Cabinet

Arvind Kejriwal, 45
Ex-irs officer
Home, power, planning, higher education, finance, services, vigilance
Manish Sisodia, 41
Journo to cm’s Man Friday
Education, higher education, 
PWD, urban development, local bodies
Somnath Bharti, 39
Lawyer with iit degree
Administrative reforms, law, tourism, art & culture
Saurabh Bhardwaj, 34
Engineer turned politician
Transport, food supply and environment
Rakhi Birla, 26
ex-journalist, youngest minister
Women and child development, social welfare, languages, women's safety
Girish Soni, 49
Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, employment, development, labour
Satyendra Jain, 49
Architect to minister
Health, industries, gurdwara elections





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