Kejriwal promises to make Delhi graft-free in 5 years

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing the gathering after being administered oath of office and secrecy at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: R. V. Moorthy  

Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday took oath as Delhi’s eighth Chief Minister, a year to the day when he stepped down from the position, and promised to make Delhi “India’s first corruption-free city” in five years.

Riding high on the unprecedented mandate, Mr. Kejriwal’s first speech as Chief Minister was liberally sprinkled with advice to his party men to guard against “arrogance”, VIP culture and misuse of power.

Minutes after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Kejriwal and his Cabinet, he thanked the voters for his comeback and said the party’s big win was a “message from above.”

Assuring his party’s commitment to eradicating corruption and passing the Jan Lokpal Bill, he said: “I cannot say when and how soon we will do it [bringing the Lokpal], but all of us will work 24 hours,” he said, adding his government wanted “constructive cooperation with the Centre” and would “extend support for all good works.”

Recalling his 49-day stint as Chief Minister, he claimed that even the AAP’s opponents admitted that bribery had ended in the city.

“Earlier we romanticised the idea of rooting out corruption, today we are confident that we can do this in five years,” he said.

He repeated his earlier suggestion of “recording” the demands for a bribe and forwarding it to him for action.

Continuing his pre-poll strategy of a “positive campaign,” Mr. Kejriwal’s pot-shots at the Congress and the BJP were less acerbic; while he attributed the Congress and the BJP’s debacle to “arrogance,” he was quick to point out that his party too was guilty of it.

After winning 28 seats last time, arrogance crept in and the party contested the Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Statehood issue

The issue of full Statehood for Delhi also figured in his speech.“When I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I told him, there is no better time to deliver full statehood for Delhi, the BJP has always mentioned this in their poll manifestos and the AAP wants it. I told him, I am ready and I am hopeful that the PM will think about it,” he said.

He said his party would seek guidance from Kiran Bedi of the BJP and Ajay Maken of the Congress and use their administrative and political experience.

Mr. Kejriwal promised to put an end to the “VIP culture” in Delhi, adding that there would not be any red beacon cars for him and his Cabinet.

Watch video: Will work for development of Delhi: Kejriwal

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 1:45:08 PM |

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