Arvind Kejriwal: No Z-plus, give Delhi statehood

Kejriwal displayed political maturity by calling on two senior ministers of NDA govt

New Delhi: The historic mandate that Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party received in the Delhi Assembly election is yet to sink in, but the chief minister-designate is already in action mode. A day after the spectacular victory that decimated the BJP, Mr Kejriwal displayed political maturity by calling on two senior ministers of the NDA government on Wednesday and sticking to his pre-election rhetoric of saying no to security cover.

The AAP convenor’s rounds of the corridors of Raisina Hills will continue on Thursday as well when he will knock on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s door to invite him to his swearing-in ceremony on Saturday at the Ramlila Grounds. It is not yet clear whether Mr Modi will accept the invitation and attend the grand ceremony, which is expected to see maximum participation from the general public.

Mr Kejriwal calling on ministers and seeking an appointment with the PM marks a welcome shift from the confrontational attitude of his earlier 49-day tenure when he did not make courtesy calls on any Union government functionary.

Keen to strike the right chord after an election victory unparalleled in recent times, the AAP also announced that it would invite Union ministers to the oath-taking function, a sharp contrast to its 2013 stand when it did not invite the then Prime Minister or Union ministers.

Mr Kejriwal on Wednesday evening also met President Pranab Mukherjee, who gifted him two books the Constitution of India, and Thoughts and Reflections, authored by him. Displaying warmth, Mr Kejriwal almost hugged the President while posing for photographs.

As he met Union home minister Rajnath Singh and urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, whose ministry would play an important role in the functioning of the Delhi government, Mr Kejriwal refused Z-Plus security for himself but was apparently ready to accept “pruned” or “minimum” security. The AAP convenor had rejected Z-Plus security in his earlier tenure as well. Mr Kejriwal began the day by holding a preliminary discussion with Mr Naidu on issues pertaining to the national capital. Accompanied by his colleague, Mr Manish Sisodia, Mr Kejriwal raised issues pertaining to rural villages of Delhi, including Lal Dora areas, availability of land for building schools, hospitals, parking slots, regularisation of unauthorised colonies and full statehood for Delhi. “Your great victory was a god-sent opportunity and it has raised great expectations. You have to make the best use of it keeping in view the larger interests of the people of Delhi. We need to work together. We will do whatever is possible at our end,” Mr Naidu told Mr Kejriwal while assuring full support.

During his meeting with Mr Rajnath Singh, Mr Kejriwal raised the issue of granting full statehood to the national capital, arguing that it would help ensure proper coordination among various agencies. He also sought the full cooperation of Mr Singh in addressing various issues requiring the intervention of the Centre.

On security, senior AAP leader Ashutosh said Mr Kejriwal is “a man of the masses” and has therefore refused security cover. “He will take pruned security cover, but not the enhanced one. He is the chief minister of the masses,” Mr Ashutosh said.

( Source : dc )
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