Kejriwal to be sworn in on Saturday

December 26, 2013 - 10:30:39 am

New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal (pictured), who tapped into public anger to take the AAP to the corridors of power, will take oath on Saturday as Delhi’s seventh chief minister, with his party promising to “completely overhaul” the system.

Activist-turned-unlikely politician Kejriwal, 45, will be sworn in by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung at the sprawling Ramlila Maidan here along with six cabinet ministers at a function expected to draw thousands of supporters.

The proposed ministers are former journalists Manish Sisodia, 41, and Rakhi Birla, 26, former lawyers Saurabh Bharadwaj, 34, and Somnath Bharti, 39, architect Satyendra Jain, 49, and businessman Girish Soni, 49. 

A woman, Birla will be one of the youngest ministers in India. 

It will be a minority government — the AAP won only 28 seats in the 70-member assembly — and will depend on the legislative backing of the eight legislators of the Congress, which was voted out after 15 years. 

The main opposition will come from the 31-member strong Bharatiya Janata Party, which refused to form a government.

Speaking outside his home at Kaushambi, an Uttar Pradesh township neighbouring Delhi, Kejriwal pledged to unveil a January Lokpal bill within 15 days of taking office to battle corruption. Kejriwal, who won the Magsaysay award in 2006 for “emergent leadership” and has a history of social activism, admitted there would be many hurdles but vowed to overcome them all.

The AAP has invited Gandhian activist Anna Hazare, former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde and former police officer Kiran Bedi for the swearing in.

The Ramlila Maidan was where Hazare fasted for 12 days in 2011 for a Jan Lokpal bill with Kejriwal as one of his aides. Kejriwal, who formed the AAP in November last year, has since had a fallout with Hazare and Bedi.

Somnath Bharti, who is set to become a minister, told IANS that the AAP government will “completely overhaul” the system and changes will be visible within 

60 days.

Slashing power tariff by half — one of the key promises made by the AAP — will remain on top of the agenda, he said.

“We will completely overhaul the system, and changes will be visible within two months of our coming to power,” he said. “Our first priority is to reduce the power tariff. If needed, we will give subsidy.”

“Every official will be closely watched,” he added. “We will identify the corrupt officers in every department and remove them from their posts...”.


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