Kejriwal takes over as Delhi CM, promises corruption-free rule

Last Updated 28 December 2013, 12:25 IST

Heralding a new era of politics of governance, Arvind Kejriwal took over as the Chief Minister of Delhi promising a corruption-free government and appealed to parties including Congress and BJP to support his government.

In a warning to his minsters and partymen, he said they should not 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 on the floor of Delhi Assembly next week, he 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 a huge crowd at the historic Ramlila Maidan, the fast venue of the campaign for Jan Lokpal Bill initiated by Anna Hazare more than two years ago.

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 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 Delhi Assembly elections, people have proved that politics can be done with honesty, elections can be fought and won with honesty," he said.

While appealing to people from all political parties including BJP and Congress to support them, Kejriwal referred to BJP's Harshvardhan as an honest man.

"I know Harshvardhan personally and can say that he is a good man, but I can't say about his party. I appeal to other Congress, BJP and other parties. If you feel we are going the right way, forget your parties and support us," he said.

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 Janlokpal 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 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.

"I don't believe that all bureaucrats are corrupt.I will not hesitate in admitting that most officers are honest. It is also a challenge before the bureaucracy to deliver a corruption free regime," Kejriwal said.

So far, the honest were sidelined in the government and the corrupt were rewarded. Now, this will change, honesty will be rewarded and the corrupt will be punished, he told reporters at Rajghat.

Kejriwal, who has been an anti-corruption crusader, said, "Two years ago, one could not even imagine such a revolution, that the corrupt shall be overthrown and people's rule will be established."

The Chief Minister said he was warned by the people to be wary of the bureaucracy which will be a "hindrance" in my success.

"If we walk the path of honesty, honesty will ultimately win," he said rejecting the doubts cast over his ability by naysayers.

"Nothing is impossible if we can come together," he said.

After his swearing-in ceremony, the new Chief Minister went to Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi and from there he headed straight to the Delhi Secretariat for a cabinet meeting.

(Published 28 December 2013, 09:41 IST)

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