Arvind Kejriwal. File
Resmi Sivaram, Correspondent
Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as chief minister of Delhi for a third straight term on Sunday, days after his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took 62 out of 70 seats in the state legislature in an election focused on his good work done in the previous term.
Six ministers from the outgoing cabinet joined in taking oath at a glittering ceremony at Ramlila Maidan, outside Delhi’s iconic Red Fort. Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain and Rajendra Gautam joined as ministers again.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal administered the oath of office.
Kejriwal dedicted his victory to the people and was seen visibly delighted at the presence of thousands of common people who gathered at Ramlila Maidan.
“Elections are over now,” he said.
“No matter who you voted for, you are part of my family. Party affiliations never stopped me from working for anyone.”
Kejriwal said that he would like to develop the city-state with the Centre and make it number one in the world.
“We have to work together for the progress of Delhi. We will work with the Centre too.”
He said he would seek the prime minister’s blessing, meaning full support from the Centre.
“I had sent an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji for this event. He could not come maybe he is busy at some other event. But through this platform, I want to take blessings from PM ji and central government to develope Delhi and take it forward.”
Narendra Modi was away in his constituency Varanasi on Sunday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party was confined to eight seats despite its aggressive pro-Hindutva campaign that saw political stars including the prime minister unleashing hot rhetoric in the backdrop of the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests.
The Congress, the other national party that has ruled the country, ended up losing all seats and deposits.
Kejriwal referred to the BJP allegation that he’s giving everything free, and responded: “”Everyone says Kejriwal is making everything free. But the best things in the world are free, like a mother’s love... Kejriwal loves the people of Delhi. This love is also free.
“Should I start collecting fees from students? From patients for their medical bills and medicines? Would be shame if I did that,” Kejriwal asked.
Dedicating his victory to the 20 million people of the national capital, Kejriwal put forward the agenda his government is going to follow in the next five years.
“We always tried in the last five years to bring happiness and relief in the lives of the people of Delhi and to develop Delhi. Friends, we will keep trying to do the same thing,” he said.
“Call everyone back in your villages that your son has become the CM and there is nothing to worry about.” After taking the oath, Kejriwal sang “Hum Honge Kamyab,” Hindi version of gospel song “We Shall Overcome.”
The video of Kejriwal singing has gone viral on social media.
Before starting, Kejriwal urged those who arrived to attend his swearing-in at the Ramlila Maidan to join him in singing “Hum Honge Kamyab.”
He led and the crowd followed the recitation. In conclusion, Kejriwal chanted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” “Inquilab Zindabad” and “Vande Matram.”
Gopal Rai took oath in the name of the nation’s freedom fighters, while all AAP leaders took it in God’s’ name.
Fifty special invitees — school teachers, doctors, exam toppers, auto drivers, caretakers and sanitation workers — dubbed as “Delhi ke Nirmata (makers of Delhi)” were seen sharing stage with Kejriwal.
“It gives me immense happiness to introduce the chief guests for the event. Delhi ke nirmata (makers of Delhi) are here,” he said.
“Who runs Delhi? It’s not Kejriwal who runs Delhi. It’s not any political leader who runs Delhi. It’s not a political party... Delhi is run by its teachers, doctors, auto drivers, bus drivers, and the factory owners who give people employment,” he said.
As Kejriwal took oath as Delhi Chief Minister on Sunday along with his cabinet, the Delhi-based party is now looking to expand across the nation.
The party will discuss its expansion, AAP Delhi unit chief and cabinet minister Gopal Rai told reporters.
“We will fight local body elections in other states also. We will be focusing on a few other states as well. The decision on the same will be taken in the meeting. In future, the Lok Sabha elections will also be the target.”
“A campaign to increase the volunteer base will be launched in all the states. The aim will be to form cadres of AAP across the country,” Rai said.
While Bihar is going to polls later this year, West Bengal will have elections next year. Punjab, where AAP is the main opposition, will see elections in 2022.
“The MCD polls in Delhi in 2022 will be the AAP’s target,” Rai added.
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