Arvind Kejriwal. File
Resmi Sivaram, Correspondent
Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal plans a grand oath-taking ceremony, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sources said on Wednesday.
Manish Sisodia, his deputy in the outgoing cabinet, said Kejriwal along with his entire cabinet will take oath on Feb.16 at Delhi’s Ramleela Maidan.
That was where Kejriwal took an oath when he first came to power in 2013. He had then arrived at the venue in a Metro train.
It is understood that Kejriwal is trying to ensure the presence of top opposition leaders and make the event a grand show of opposition unity.
He shares good political equation with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Tamil Nadu leader of opposition MK Stalin.
The newly-elected AAP MLAs on Wednesday morning elected Kejriwal as leader of the legislative party. The decision was taken during a meeting of MLAs at Kejriwal’s residence.
Sisodia announced that the entire cabinet will take oath along with Kejriwal on Feb.16.
“A meeting of newly-elected AAP MLAs was held at the residence of AAP chief & CM-designate Arvind Kejriwal today. He was elected as the leader of the legislative party during the meeting.
He will take oath as the CM on 16th February,” he said.
“The entire cabinet will take oath along with the CM-designate Arvind Kejriwal. The ceremony will begin at 10am on 16th February at Ramlila Maidan.” Kejriwal also met Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal at Raj Niwas in Delhi.
The AAP registered a thumping victory in Delhi Assembly elections, completely crippling its opponents. The AAP won 62 of 70 seats, while its main rival BJP can only manage 8 seats. The Congress party failed to win a single seat likewise in 2015 Delhi elections.
The new Delhi Vidhan Sabha will have 16 first-time MLAs, all from the AAP, including Atishi, Raghav Chadha and Dilip Pandey.
Atishi, who was fielded from Kalkaji, won the seat by defeating BJP candidate Dharambir Singh by a margin of 11,393 votes. A possibilty for minister, she had failed to win the Lok Sabha elections last year from the East Delhi constituency against BJP’s Gautam Gambhir.
Chadha defeated his BJP rival Sardar RP Singh by a margin of 20,058 votes in Rajinder Nagar.
Pandey, who also unsuccessfully contested from the Northeast Delhi Lok Sabha seat in 2019, won the Timarpur seat by a margin of over 24,000 votes. In 2017, Pandey had resigned from the post of AAP’s Delhi unit convener after the party’s drubbing in the MCD polls.
Five Muslim candidates, all from the AAP, emerged victorious in the polls, retaining the party’s hold on the minority voter segment it had wrested from the Congress.
AAP’s Amanatullah Khan retained his Okhla seat defeating BJP’s Braham Singh by a whopping margin of over 70,000 votes. In Seelampur, AAP won despite replacing its sitting MLA Mohammad Ishraque with Abdul Rehman.
Rehman defeated BJP’s Kaushal Kumar Mishra with a margin of 36,920 votes.
In the Ballimaran seat, AAP candidate and Delhi minister Imran Hussain won, defeating BJP’s Lata Sodhi by a margin of 36,172 votes. Former Delhi minister and Congress candidate Haroon Yusuf finished third with a meagre 4.73 per cent vote share.
In Matia Mahal, Shoaib Iqbal, who was representing AAP, after having being fielded by and having won on tickets given to him by Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, Janata Dal (Secular) and Janata Dal (United) in the five Assembly elections between 1993 ans 2013, repeated his feat again. He polled 67,250 votes and defeated BJP’s Ravinder Gupta.
In Delhi, Muslim voters constitute 13 per cent of the electorate and are scattered through Ballimaran, Matia Mahal, Mustafabad, Okhla, Babarpur and Seelampur, localities where Muslims comprise 40 per cent of the population. As the BJP weaved its narrative around nationalism and Hindutva, hitting out at the AAP for the anti-CAA protests at Jamia Millia Islamia and Shaheen Bagh, the Kejriwal-led party remained focused on its development pitch. It is also to be noted that the BJP had not fielded any Muslim candidates.
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