Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as Delhi’s chief minister for the third consecutive time on Sunday at the Ramlila Maidan.
In his address after taking oath, Kejriwal said he wants to work in harmony with the Centre and smooth governance in the capital.
Kejriwal said he has “forgiven” his opponents for the remarks they made during the poll campaign. Referring himself as Delhi’s “son”, he said this is not his victory but of every single Delhiite.
“This is not my win, this is the victory of every Delhiite, of every family. In the last five years, our only effort has been to bring happiness and relief to every Delhiite,” said the AAP chief, adding that he did not give step-motherly treatment to anyone and has worked for all in the last five years.
“Elections are over, it doesn’t matter who you voted for, now all Delhiites are my family. I will work for everyone, be it from any party, any religion, caste or strata of society. I am not just AAP’s chief minister. I am BJP’s chief minister, I am Congress’s chief minister, I am everyone’s chief minister,” he said.
He also took on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its remarks on AAP attracting voters by providing freebies.
“Some people say Kejriwal is giving everything for free. Nature has ensured every valuable thing in the world is free, be it Mother’s love, father’s blessings or Shravan Kumar’s dedication. So, Kejriwal loves his people and hence this love is free,” he said.
Soon after AAP victory became evident last Tuesday, several BJP leaders had said it was the AAP’s promises of freebies, and not governance policies that attracted voters.
Continuing with his inclusive approach, Kejriwal said that he is everyone’s chief minister.
Kejriwal is the first and the only Delhi chief minister who has opted for Ramlila Maidan as the venue for his oath ceremonies. All his predecessors always took oath at the Raj Niwas.
President Ram Nath Kovind had on Friday appointed him as the new chief minister of Delhi after AAP registered a landslide victory in the national capital by winning 62 out of the 70 seats in assembly elections.
The AAP had earlier said all ministers would continue to hold the same portfolios. Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gahlot, Rajendra Pal Gautam and Imran Hussain were sworn in as ministers on Sunday.
The party had invited the teachers of Delhi schools to the ceremony, saying the educators have been the architect of the Delhi’s transformation in the past five years. It also invited 50 representatives from different sectors for their contribution to governance. These included angandwadi and doorstep delivery workers, representatives of education, healthcare and infrastructure sectors, safai karamchari, public transport staff, bus marshals and farmers.
The Delhi Police had made strict security arrangements for the swearing-in ceremony. Around 3,000 security personnel from Delhi Police and para military were placed in the Ramlila Maidan area, along with CCTV surveillance of all the routes leading to the venue.
In 2013, AAP created history by winning 28 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly election. The party made a stunning electoral debut by defeating Delhi’s three-time Congress Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
However, Kejriwal resigned after 49 days, heading the shortest tenure of a Delhi government after political opponents blocked an anti-corruption bill in the state assembly.
Again, in 2015, AAP got a landslide victory, winning 67 of Delhi’s 70 seats.
Long before Kejriwal entered politics, he had formed an NGO Parivartan to address citizens’ grievances related to Public Distribution System (PDS), public works, social welfare schemes, income tax and electricity. In 2006, he resigned from the I-T department and donated his Magsaysay award money as a corpus fund to set-up the Public Cause Research Foundation.
A social activist, political reformer and a former Joint Commissioner in the I-T department, Kejriwal is known for his commitment towards the Right to Information (RTI) and struggle for the Jan Lokpal. He has authored ‘Swaraj’, a book on his model of local self-governance and decentralisation of administration.