Analysis | Arvind Kejriwal wants to get on with governance now

All aboard: An AAP supporter at the swearing-in of Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday. Political support cutting across religion, caste and class stand the Delhi CM in good stead.

All aboard: An AAP supporter at the swearing-in of Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday. Political support cutting across religion, caste and class stand the Delhi CM in good stead.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Signalling his desire to end the politics of confrontation, the AAP chief says he wants to work with everyone

Arvind Kejriwal sounded more chief ministerial as he commenced his third term as Delhi’s chief executive in less than seven years. In his speech to tens of thousands of people at Ramlila Maidan on Sunday after being sworn-in, Mr. Kejriwal sounded mellow, confident and aware of the challenges ahead.

As the huge crowd listened with rapt attention, the Aam Aadmi Party chief made it clear that he intended to work closely with the Central government to develop Delhi, quite unlike the confrontation that marked his second term in office.

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Mr. Kejriwal himself, his Ministers and at least a score of AAP MLAs were targeted in his last term by Central agencies and the Delhi police in an effort to browbeat the Delhi government, but these efforts came a cropper.

“I want to work with everyone,” the Chief Minister announced, pointing out that he had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the swearing-in function on Sunday, but the Prime Minister could not make it due to other commitments. Mr. Kejriwal went to the extent of saying that he wanted the blessings of the Prime Minister to develop Delhi.

Underlining the change in tack, no Chief Minister from any Opposition-run State was invited to Sunday’s ceremony, sending a clear signal that Mr. Kejriwal was not interested in beginning his third term on a confrontational note.

Given the multiple sources of authority in Delhi and the fact that the Delhi police are very much under the firm control of the Union Home Ministry, Mr. Kejriwal’s effort appears to be able to get on with the job of governance.

Dikshit’s playbook

Former Congress Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who worked under this same system, took pains to ensure that she worked with the Centre under two Prime Ministers — Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP and Manmohan Singh of the the Congress. Mr. Kejriwal is, perhaps, taking a leaf out of the late Chief Minister’s book.

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By retaining the same Cabinet as in 2015, the Chief Minister has signalled continuity and also put the lid on the ambitions of new contenders. Many analyses after the current Assembly election suggest that women workers turned out in large numbers and it remains to be seen what role Mr. Kejriwal gives to the women elected as MLAs on AAP ticket.

Given his stress on governance and delivery (kaam ki rajiniti as he has called it time and again), expectations from Mr. Kejriwal and his team are sky high as he commences his third term.

Mr. Kejriwal also stressed he had forgiven his opponents for all the name calling and allegations during the campaign, and promised to be the Chief Minister for all voters irrespective of political affiliation, religion, caste or whether they were poor or rich.

The AAP Chief Minister will be closely watched, but his solid political support cutting across religion, caste, class and ethnicity will stand him in good stead.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:32:32 PM |

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