New Delhi: Delhi’s youngest chief minister, set for his clean-up act, on Sunday sought 10 days’ time to address issues and put a system in place for smooth governance. After an action-packed Saturday when chief minister Arvind Kejriwal fired nine IAS officers and held a brainstorming meeting with his newly-sworn-in Cabinet, he reiterated his promises on Sunday.
Addressing the public outside his Kaushambi residence, he said, “I don’t want to give you false assurances. I will take your applications only when we put a system in place...” said the CM.
“We have formed the government but now a lot needs to be done... We can’t do it alone, we all need to work together,” he added. Many among the crowd had come to speak to the CM about their grievances. The crowd included Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) employees and people from the Valmiki community. “About 14,000 drivers and conductors have been hired on contractual basis by DTC. We have been working on contractual basis for around 10 years.
Edit: AAP must rise to its lofty mission
Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal officially became chief minister with a bang on Saturday. Tens of thousands spontaneously turned up at Delhi’s historic Ramlila Maidan to witness Kejriwal and his six ministers, including the young 26-year-old Rakhi Birla, take the oath of office.
It was not rent-a-crowd that characterises political rallies, except those of the Left. Testifying to changed times that AAP’s spectacular recent victory signifies, there were no entry barriers.
The CM and his ministers wore their everyday clothes. In his 20-minute speech after taking oath, Mr Kejriwal electrified listeners with the message that his government had come into being to end the “arrogance” of the established parties and must do nothing that would help create another party that would have to dismantle AAP’s hubris. Delhi’s seventh CM, also at 45 its youngest, remarkably sang at the rally an old film number which speaks of harmony among people and no rich-poor divides. The crowd sang with him. Is it all a dream, or is the new idiom for real? It is the sheer ordinariness of the way things have turned out that is, in fact, revolutionary.
A seasoned observer has called AAP’s stunning debut “electoral insurgency”. The spirit of this was on display at the Ramlila Maidan. It recalled the spontaneous milling crowd addressed by Jayaprakash Narayan at the same venue after the newly formed Janata Party had roundly defeated the Emergency-tainted Congress in 1977. Given the ignominious fate of the Janata Party, which had come in on so much promise, this is an unhappy comparison. We hope the Kejriwal government succeeds in its lofty mission to serve the people without ostentation, without corruption, and without losing sight of the vast majority of the poor in Delhi, inappropriately called the city of the middle classes.
Kejriwal has made a strong symbolic beginning by banning red beacons atop cars (the hated “lal battis”) of ministers and officials, and passing an order against personal security officers (PSOs) for anybody unless a specific security threat is indicated. These are obvious crowd-pleasers, but Delhi is a complex city and the government cannot afford to get stuck at this level. We hope the Congress support to AAP, on the confidence motion on January 2, will be unstinted and will be carried through until the Kejriwal government begins to renege on its pro-people promises. The just-defeated former CM Sheila Dikshit has erred in not attending the swearing-in ceremony.
This was sheer bad form, especially when the people are so enthused. The BJP too must end its gripe about a “deal” between the AAP and the Congress, a bogus idea. Political graciousness is in order.