Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday pledged to make Delhi the country’s first corruption-free city and urged his party colleagues never to be arrogant. Addressing thousands at the Ramlila Maidan after taking oath as chief minister, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader pressed the need to make Delhi a full state.
In his second stint as chief minister, the 46-year-old struck a pragmatic note, saying he will periodically consult leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress on ways to develop Delhi. The tens of thousands packing the sprawling ground in the heart of the capital cheered him when he first took the oath of office and secrecy, followed by six ministers, and then addressed them.
“After our (earlier) 49 days in office, now we have the confidence that we will finish off corruption in Delhi,” he said to loud cheers. “We have to make Delhi the first corruption-free city in India. We can do it.”
He repeatedly urged his ministers, legislators and AAP colleagues never to show even the slightest hint of arrogance as members of the ruling party, saying it was arrogance which had destroyed the Congress and the BJP.
“We will have to constantly introspect... If arrogance creeps in, we will not be able to fulfil our mission.”
Kejriwal, who has been suffering from fever for some days, clearly sounded unwell. He said in his speech that he had come to the venue after taking Crocin. He decried statements made by some AAP leaders that after the sensational victory in Delhi, the party would now expand rapidly in other states.
This too, he said, smacked of arrogance.
“God has ordered us, the people of Delhi have ordered us to serve them... All the coming five years I will serve only the people of Delhi.”
He said that although Delhi Police did not come under his control, he had the confidence that with its help his government would be able to make Delhi a secure city for people of all religions and communities.
He said he told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the AAP stood for “constructive cooperation” with the central government and that it was high time Delhi got full statehood.
Kejriwal said he had high regards for Kiran Bedi, who was the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate and who lost the election. “She is like my elder sister. She has a lot of administrative experience... We will take her along with us. We will take her guidance from time to time.”
He said he would also periodically seek guidance from Ajay Maken, who led the Congress in the election, in view of his experience as a central minister on how to develop Delhi.
Highlights of Kejriwal speech
- I knew people of Delhi love us. But I did not know they love us so much. (On winning 67 of 70 seats.)
- When the votes were counted, the seats were raining. This has to be a miracle.
- People from all sections, religions voted for us.
- God is trying to convey a message (by giving AAP such a majority). We have to understand the message.
- When such a big victory comes, arrogance follows. We need to be humble.
- I see (some) arrogance in the AAP. This is not right.
- We were over ambitious in the Lok Sabha election. We were taught a lesson.
- If AAP volunteers do anything wrong, police should give them double the punishment.
- We have to make Delhi the first corruption-free city in India. We can do it.
- I respect Kiran Bedi. She is like my elder sister.
- We (I and my colleagues) will work 24 hours a day. I promise that.
- We will make Delhi a secure city for all.
- I will stay in Delhi and work for Delhi’s development for five years.
- If anybody demands bribe, do a sting with your mobile phone and send the recording to us.
- We have to end VIP culture.
- Please leave Delhi to the people of Delhi. (To Prime Minister Narendra Modi.)
- AAP volunteers are pearls, they are gold.
- I am sure the Indian cricket team will win the World Cup.