'We were born to remove the arrogance of big parties'
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government is not bothered about its fate. 'We are not here to grab power,' he said.
Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party has rewritten the grammar of politics in Delhi and may possibly do so elsewhere, was sworn in as Delhi's chief minister at noon on Saturday, December 28, promising a corruption-free government and a new style of governance without the arrogance of power.
Kejriwal, 45, a former Indian Revenue Service officer, who broke from Kisan Baburao 'Anna' Hazare's campaign for a Lokpal and scored a stunning debut in electoral politics winning 28 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly, took the oath of office and secrecy at a public ceremony at the Ramlila Maidan.
Along with Kejriwal, six others -- Manish Sisodia, Girish Soni, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Jain, Saurabh Bharadwaj and Somnath Bharti -- took the oath as ministers.
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Image: Arvind Kejriwal delivers his first speech as Delhi CM at Ramlila Maidan
'We are not here to grab power'
Sporting his trademark Gandhi cap, proclaiming that 'I am an aam aadmi,' Kejriwal wore a blue sweater over a bush shirt and trousers.
Hazare and his associate Kiran Bedi, who were invited to the event, kept away from it as did several political leaders including former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who Kejriwal vanquished in the assembly election.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Dr Harsh Vardhan, who will be the Leader of the Opposition in the new assembly, was the lone prominent politician to be present.
The new chief minister asked his ministers and members of his Aam Aadmi Party not to get arrogant with power
"We were born to remove the arrogance of big parties. We should be wary that no other party has to take birth to dismantle us."
On the confidence motion that his government confronts in the Delhi assembly next week, Kejriwal said his party was not bothered about its fate as "we are not here to grab power."
"Whether we pass or fail in the test of confidence motion...we are ready to face elections, if we fail. The people will vote us with a huge majority," he said to cheers from the huge crowd that had gathered at the Ramlila Maidan,
Image: Kejriwal waves to crowds gathered at Ramlila Maidan
'Now, 1.5 crore people of Delhi will run the government'
In his 20-minute speech, Kejriwal called the day very historic and formation of his government a "victory of the aam aadmi (common man)".
"It is not Kejriwal who took oath today but it is the common man...it is the victory of the common man," he said, adding "the road to truth is not easy but full of thorns and we will face all future challenges".
"We are not here to grab power but to give governance back in the hands of people. Now, 1.5 crore people of Delhi will run the government," he said.
“Delhi has shown the country that politics can be done with honesty. We had lost all hope and thought that politics is hooliganism and corruption. But in the Delhi assembly elections, people have proved that politics can be done with honesty, elections can be fought and won with honesty," he said.
Image: Over a lakh people gathered at Ramlila Maidan for the ceremony
'Without changing politics we cannot get rid of corruption'
Talking about his mentor Anna Hazare, Kejriwal said, "Anna used to say that politics is dirty. Two-and-a-half years back, Annaji held a 13-day fast to remove corruption and to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed. In these last two years, we did every possible thing. We fasted, agitated but nothing happened. Gradually it became clear that without changing country's politics we cannot get rid of corruption".
"I used to suggest to Anna that if we want to clean the system, then we will have to get down in this 'dirty politics'," he said
Suggesting a unique way of trapping corrupt officials, Kejriwal asked Delhiites that if somebody asks for bribe then not "don't refuse them".
"Instead, do a 'setting'. We will give you a phone number within two days, where you can complain about such bureaucrats and we catch them red-handed," he said.
Later at Rajghat, Kejriwal said that corrupt officials "need not worry" and they should start working honestly.
Image: Arvind Kejriwal with his mentor Anna Hazare before they parted ways