Delhi’s new Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, visibly tired and suffering from what party sources say is a minor infection, promised thousands of supporters gathered at his Kaushambi home on Sunday he would put together a mechanism to address public complaints on corruption and maladministration within 10days.
“I do not want to give you false assurances”, Mr. Kejriwal told visitors who gathered with their demands and grievances outside his home early in the morning. “I will take your complaints when we come up with an institutionalised mechanism to sort out the problems”. He added that the system could be put in place with the support of the people and without their involvement, the problems could not be resolved.
Followers from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, carrying bouquets and garlands, started converging outside Mr. Kejriwal’s residence early in the morning, along with Delhi residents.
Among the petitioners were contractual employees with the Delhi Transport Corporation and civic bodies who urged that they be made permanent employees and that the contract system in their departments is scrapped. The Aam Aadmi Party had during the election campaign promised that the contractual service system would be done away with once the party comes to power.
Members of the Youth Artists Society for Peace and Harmony, dressed both as Hindu gods and goddesses as well as in military uniform, had came all the way from Mathura on a tableau to greet the chief minister.
While Mr. Kejriwal soon went back to his house, the party’s national executive Sanjay Singh and his colleague collected all the complaints and applications.
Mr. Kejriwal’s remarks came amid signs that his Aam Aadmi Party was picking up support that could prove important to its hopes of contesting Lok Sabha elections from several northern cities. Former Samjwadi Party politician Kamal Farooqi was among the visitors to Mr. Kejriwal’s home. He declined to say if he planned to join the AAP, but said “everyone is interested to join him [Mr. Kejriwal]”. AAP sources told The Hindu that the issue was still under discussion, and that no immediate decision was expected.
Both the AAP and Congress remain cautious on the long-term future of their relationship, though the national party has committed to supporting Mr. Kejriwal in a confidence vote later this week.
‘Will probe graft charges’
AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said on Sunday that the Delhi government would deliver on its promise to investigate corruption charges against Congress leaders, even though the Mr. Kejriwal’s government is dependent on its support. “The Union Government is investigating our sources of funding”, Mr. Kejriwal said, “we will investigate them, too”.
“I know the AAP have been making all kinds of claims of starting cases against our leaders”, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said. “However, the people of Delhi, will be watching the AAP very carefully to see how they perform”.
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari had earlier alleged that the AAP and Congress had entered into a secret deal to to target his party, a claim both parties have denied.
With a large number of visitors mobbing Mr. Kejriwal’s home every day, the Uttar Pradesh Police have intervened for crowd management. Some Delhi Police personnel in plainclothes have been deployed around the residential complex of Mr. Kejriwal, who has already refused personal security. About a dozen policemen have also been stationed outside the complex for traffic management in the locality.
The Ghaziabad Police have set up a door-frame metal detector at the main gate of the housing complex as part of the security arrangement. “However, no one is being stopped from visiting Mr. Kejriwal’s residence,” said a police officer.