Ramlila Maidanaround noon after boarding a packed Metro from Kaushambi, the Chief Minister’s home in Ghaziabad, for Barakhamba Road in the heart of the Capital.
“The oath we are taking today is not of Arvind Kejriwal and the other ministers but people of Delhi have taken the oath. The whole fight is not to make Arvind Kejriwal a Chief Minister but it is for a change of governance in Delhi,” Kejriwal told the crowd.
An hour after they were administered the oath of office by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, the AAP government took charge of the Delhi Secretariat and announced the first in a series of promised measures aimed to “clean up” politics and bring probity in public life.
Signalling the beginning of the end of what the AAP calls the ‘VIP culture’, Kejriwal said: “No minister or official in Delhi government will use red beacons. Red beacons will be limited only to ambulances, the police and fire tenders. Also, no personal security officer (PSO) will be provided to any official except where there is threat perception.”
By the end of the day, a string of announcements had been made — measures to tackle corruption, bring in austerity (no bungalows for Kejriwal and his cabinet) and decisions on power tariff cuts and free water within two days.
But probity in public life was top priority. In his speech after the swearing-in ceremony, Kejriwal announced a hotline to tackle corruption.
“If someone asks you for a bribe in a public office, don’t refuse.” As a puzzled crowd stared at him, Kejriwal paused for dramatic effect, and smiled. “Unse setting kar lena (strike a deal with them). In two days, we will release a telephone number, where you can call and complain of someone taking a bribe. Together, we will catch them red-handed and action will be taken. That your work is done is my responsibility. Together, you and I will root out corruption.”
He also reached out to not only the political class but bureaucrats as well, indicating a thaw in his thought process. In the run-up to the elections,