Arvind Kejriwal took oath as Delhi’s seventh and youngest chief minister ever in an unconventional ceremony at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday, marking a paradigm shift in the capital’s, and perhaps, the country’s politics — from control to empowerment of the people.
After his swearing-in ceremony, the action shifted to the Delhi secretariat where he immediately assumed office and called a meeting of his cabinet to execute the first of the many controversial decisions to come. The AAP-led government stripped its ministers and bureaucrats of beacon-fitted cars, personal security and escort cars. Kejriwal said the decisions on cheaper power and water would be taken next week.
Earlier in the day, right after he took oath, he announced an anti-corruption helpline on which people could register complaints against corrupt officers and bureaucrats of the Delhi government. “If someone asks you for a bribe, please do not say no. But call the helpline and get him caught red-handed,” he said in his first speech as chief minister. In an emotional and extempore address to a crowd of around 40,000 people, who had gathered to watch the common man be crowned king, Kejriwal said his party’s electoral win and an AAP-led government in the capital was nothing but the victory of the aam aadmi. Reiterating his promise to usher in participative democracy he said: “My cabinet ministers and I alone cannot run this government. This is not a ceremony where only I have taken oath, every person present here has also taken an oath to fight corruption. We need the help of 1.5 crore people of this city to cleanse the system of corruption and run this government.” He ended by singing a Manna Dey song on brotherhood from the 1959 film Paighaam.
Although Anna Hazare did not attend the oath-taking ceremony, he congratulated his one-time protégé and his cabinet ministers in a letter sent to Kejriwal on Saturday. “We have worked together for many years.... I congratulate you for taking the oath of chief minister today. I also congratulate others taking oath with you today,” he told reporters at his village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra. Prime minister Manmohan Singh also called Kejriwal in the day to congratulate him on his new assignment.
On the first day of his new job, Kejriwal held a series of meetings with senior officials from Delhi Jal Board, departments of power and transport and also the Delhi Police Commissioner. The newly appointed CM also decided to keep some of the key portfolios such as home, finance, vigilance and power with himself.
The AAP-led government is expected to hold a special session of the Delhi assembly in the first week of January to prove its majority on the floor of the House.
3 Key Decisions
1 No Red Beacons
Ministers and officials will not use red beacons on their cars. This was one key promise made by AAP and aimed at putting an end to the VIP culture in Delhi. MLAs must use government cars only for official work. 2 Security on ‘Threat’
The Delhi cabinet decided that security to lawmakers will be allotted based only on “threat perception”. No escort vehicle will be provided to officials and ministers. This stems from AAP’s ideology that an MLA needs the same security as the common man.
3 Anti-graft Helpline
Kejriwal announced creating an anticorruption helpline which people can call to register complaints against government officers seeking bribe. A call centre will be established.
Delhi’s new ministers and their portfolios
Home, Finance, Vigilance, Services, Planning, Power and all other unallocated depts
Education, Higher Education, PWD, Urban Development, Local Bodies, Land and Building Revenue
Administrative Reforms, Law, Tourism, Art and Culture
SC/ST, Development, Employment, Skills Mission and Labour
Food and Supply, Transport, Environment, General Administration
Health, Industries, Gurudwara
Women and Child development, Social Welfare, Languages