Arvind Kejriwal extends olive branch to Centre after taking oath for third term

Arvind Kejriwal addresses the crowd after taking oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi for the third time at a swearing-in ceremony held at the Ramlila Maidan grounds on Sunday. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal administered the oath of office and secrecy at the ceremony attended by thousands of AAP supporters.

Senior AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gahlot, Rajinder Pal Gautam and Imran Hussain were also sworn in as Ministers in the Delhi Cabinet. All six were Ministers in the previous AAP government.

Mr. Rai, who was the Labour Minister in the previous government, took oath in the name of martyrs of freedom struggle. Mr. Gautam, who held the Social Welfare portfolio in his last tenure, took oath in the name of Buddha and Mr. Hussain took oath in the name of Allah. The other three ministers took oath in the name of God.

The swearing-in ceremony, for which Mr. Kejriwal had invited all of Delhi, was turned into an occasion to thank the voters for bringing the AAP back to power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had been invited to the event, did not attend.

Setting his government’s roadmap for the next five years, Mr. Kejriwal sought the Prime Minister “blessings” for fast paced development of the national capital and asserted that people may have voted for different parties, but he would work for all of them. “We have forgiven our Opposition for whatever remarks they made. I would also like to request the Opposition parties to forget what happened during the elections. I want to work together with all the parties for the development of Delhi. I want to work together with the Central government to make Delhi a world-class city.”

Striking a conciliatory political tone, the former bureaucrat the sought cooperation of his rivals in the BJP and Congress in making Delhi the “number one city”, saying he has “forgiven” them for the remarks against him during the high-octane poll campaign.

Mr. Kejriwal termed himself Delhi’s “son” and the “Chief Minister of all” people irrespective of the party they voted for. “The two crore people of the national capital are my family,” he said.

Special invitees

The AAP invited 50 people from all walks of life as special guests. The party said it was these people, whom it termed ‘Delhi ke nirmata’ (builders of Delhi) who had run Delhi in the last five years and were being acknowledged for their contribution.

Among them was Shabina Naaz, who has been working with night shelters around Chandni Chowk and Kashmiri Gate for the past five years. Ms. Naaz said, “When I got a call, I could not believe that it is really happening. I can tell you that only the AAP government can invite a person as unimportant as me.”

Another special guest was Lazwanti, a sanitation worker. She said recognising people like her shows the “affectionate nature” and the ground connect of the AAP government.

Arvind Kejriwal after he takes oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi

Arvind Kejriwal after he takes oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi   | Photo Credit: Twitter/AAP


The special guests included traders, teachers, principals, labourers, advocates, engineers, doctors, sportspersons, framers and students. 

The AAP chose to use the Ramlila Maidan for the third time for its swearing-in ceremony as it was the venue where the anti-corruption protest were held in 2011 which led to the formation of the party. After the Lieutenant Governor left the dais, Mr. Kejriwal addressed the gathering, expressing thanks, and said it was not his victory that was being celebrated but the victory of every Delhiite.

Mr. Kejriwal credited the people of Delhi for giving birth to a new kind of “politics of work and performance.” He listed his government’s various initiatives and defended the ‘freebies’ saying it would be a shame if he charged people for basic amenities like education and health.

The Chief Minister said that his government was often criticised for making everything free but God had made everything free in this world. “When a mother loves her child or makes a sacrifice, that love is free in the same way, Kejriwal loves his Delhiites and Delhiites love Kejriwal and this love is free. How can I charge a fee from a child in a Delhi government school.”

Watch | Delhi's Chief Ministers over the years

The new politics is “of schools, hospitals, 24-hour and cheap power supply, water, roads, women’s security, corruption-free Delhi” and is being discussed all over the country, he said. 

He also said that initiatives like mohalla clinics are being replicated across the country and abroad.

“In the last five years, we have tried to develop Delhi on a fast mode and in the next five years, we will continue the same,” he said.

The AAP supremo began his address with ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ and ended it by singing ‘Hum Honge Kamyaab’, in which he was joined by the crowd at the venue.

Mr. Kejriwal’s parents, wife Sunita, and daughter Harshita also attended the swearing-in ceremony.

Supporters also poured in from several states, including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. 

At least, six ‘Little Mufflermen’ dressed up in Kejriwal’s trademark winter wear and sporting a faux moustache were the cynosure of all eyes at the event.

Huge banners sporting ‘Dhanyawad Delhi’ were also put up in and around the venue and there were tight security arrangements.

Many AAP supporters said it is time for Kejriwal to go national and his next aim should be to change the country’s politics.

“The atmosphere in the whole country has turned toxic, now the AAP should work towards changing that. It is very important to clean other parts of the country,” Suman Rao, a construction worker from Bhopal, said.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 12:03:56 PM |

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