NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday underscored his politics of development after taking the oath of office and secrecy, at the sprawling Ramlila Maidan. “Ours is the politics of better schools, hospitals, cheap power supply 24x7, water, roads, women’s security and making the administration corruption-free. This new brand of politics is already being talked about all over the country. It will help create the India of the 21st century,” Kejriwal said, hinting at plans to go national with his development model.
Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has already announced its intention to fight every local body poll across the nation. It also hopes to wrest control of the Municipal Corporation in Delhi from the BJP. Party leaders from across the country gathered at CM’s residence in the evening to deliberate upon expanding the AAP’s national footprint. Waving the Tricolour and carrying placards, thousands gathered at the iconic ground to catch a glimpse of Kejriwal, who overcame incumbency and scored a landslide in the Assembly polls last week, picking up 62 seats in the 70-member House.
In a contrast to the swearing-in ceremony in 2015, Kejriwal this time spoke about taking everyone along for the development of Delhi and forgiving the Opposition for its sharp language in the run up to the elections. “I forgive all my opponents for their remarks against me. I want to take everyone along. I will not work alone but with all of you,” said Kejriwal. “I have never discriminated against them in the last five years. I have worked for everybody, and never discriminated against people who did not vote for me.”
It was an AAP-only show as no Opposition biggies were invited.
However, BJP MLA from Rohini Vijendra Gupta was present. According to sources, the AAP did not want to turn it into an Opposition unity event, since it would have made the messaging combative instead of the positive tone the party intended to have. That strategy was reflected in Kejriwal seeking PM Narendra Modi’s blessings for smooth governance. The PM reciprocated by extending his best wishes for a fruitful tenure. Kejriwal thanked Modi, adding: “We must now work together towards making Delhi a city of pride for all Indians.”
‘Dilli ke Nirmatas’ swell with pride on big day
“I am overwhelmed and am feeling very proud that I got invited to the swearing-in ceremony of the chief minister. I really am grateful to be the face of the entire teaching community,” said an excited Manu Gulati who is a teacher at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya. Development in the field of education had been one of the biggest electoral plank used by Arvind Kejriwal while campaigning for the assembly elections. Now, connecting with lakhs of teachers and parents seems to have worked in favour of Kejriwal’s party.
Gulati, who was born and brought up in Delhi, started her career back in 2004. Similarly, Nidhi Gupta, a Metro pilot for the past 10 years, who graced the occasion as a special guest under ‘Dilli Ke Nirmata’ said, “It is an opportunity of a lifetime for me, Delhi government has brought in many changes in the education sector and focused on ensuring safety of women which I appreciate,” said Gupta.
The Delhi government was not able to do a lot on the front of adding new buses in the previous term, but in terms of improving women’s safety, Kejriwal introduced Bus Marshal in the buses, a previous manifesto promise. “It is an honour for me to represent the bus marshals at this event. Delhi government has given me a lot of respect. I was impressed by the serious attempts made by the AAP government towards women safety,” said Arun Kumar, cluster bus marshal. Kumar who last year made news for saving a six-year-old girl from being kidnapped by a man in Dhalua Kuan area, however, requested that bus marshalls be provided weapons to protect themselves in case of danger in buses.
“It is a good day for us. We have with us 50 special guests as ‘Dilli Ke Nirmata’. Delhi is not created by us, or the politicians, or parties. Delhi is Delhi because of teachers, students, doctors, auto drivers, rickshaw pullers, businessmen, architects... I am happy that we have a metro pilot Nidhi Gupta with us. We have bus marshal Arun Kumar, who saved a girl from being kidnapped by risking his life. Delhi is run by all these ‘Nirmatas,” said Kejriwal in his speech. These special guests featured school teachers, students, farmers, anganwadi workers, social activists, wives of slain service personnel and fire fighters, PWD engineers, pharmacists, auto drivers and sanitation workers among others.
Voted in favour of women’s safety: DU student
For Afreen Khan, a Delhi University student who came in early from east Delhi to attend the swearing-in of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday, one of the best parts of his speech was when he referred to the issue of women’s safety. Kejriwal, who took oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi for a third successive time said that the “new politics” is about work, building schools, round-the-clock electricity supply and women’s safety, among other issues. “I voted in this elections thinking about women’s safety,” Afreen said.
‘Aim to complete pending work soon’
Within few hours of taking the oath, social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam reached his office at Delhi secretariat and resumed work. Gautam won his seat from Seemapuri for the second time. “I aim to complete all the pending work as soon as possible for the benefit of the public. I am grateful to Arvind Kejriwal who chose me as a cabinet minister and gave me another chance,” said the social welfare minister after joining.
‘All precious things in life come for free’
Cm Kejriwal in his speech stated that all good things in the world come for free and that his love for people of Delhi is free. “They said Kejriwal is making everything free, but I want to say that everything precious in the world is free. The love that a mother has for her child is precious and priceless, the fact that a father stays hungry to afford a good future for his child is priceless. Shravan Kumar served his parents with all his might. Kejriwal is your Shravan Kumar,” said the CM.
All 6 ministers may retain portfolios
Along with Kejriwal, all six ministers in the outgoing government took their oaths of office and secrecy. While the portfolios are yet to be officially announced, sources said they are likely to retain their respective positions. The AAP invited around 50 commoners and treated them as guests of honour, with seats on the dais
AAP chalks out national plan
Ready to take the next big step, senior AAP leaders held a meeting with all its states in-charges to work on a national expansion plan. Gopal Rai informed that a three-point action plan under “Join AAP for Nation Building” campaign has been formulated. From February 23 to March 23, a ‘Rashtra Nirman’ campaign will be launched.