Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal took a dig at the Centre during a public meeting organised to mark 100 days of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital in the wake of a court judgment that gave the Anti-Corruption Bureau a green light for taking action against corrupt officials.
The AAP government, which is in a tussle with the central government over powers pertaining to the posting and transfer of senior officials, held a public meeting at Central Park in Connaught Place where it listed 11 focus areas of its work, including power, water, education, women's safety, pollution and price rise, among others.
At the venue thronged by thousands of enthusiastic AAP supporters who raised slogans to back the party's claims for more power to run the government in Delhi, Kejriwal, accompanied by his entire cabinet, resolved to take back Delhi government's powers from the Centre within the current term.
The NDA government had recently threw its weight behind Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in his spat with Kejriwal, issuing a notification that said he was well within his powers to make senior bureaucratic appointments.
AAP's meeting, amid the no-holds-barred turf war, was fiery and gave Kejriwal a stage to make his pitch for more powers to the state government. Here are 5 takeaways from the AAP meeting, christened 'Jan Samvad'.
Any mega AAP meeting is incomplete without this very important ingredient. When asked about corruption and when Delhi would see a corruption-free bureaucracy (his favourite topic), the chief minister went on and on about the different types of corruption present within the system, while giving them separate names and tags. He did not give a clear answer to the question, however.
But, making his case for more powers for Delhi government, he said, "The fight to liberate us is on alongside work. This fight will continue and I hope that in the next five years, we will get back the powers that the Centre has taken from Delhi."
"We don't want to fight with the Centre. We want to work together. The first thing we did after winning was to meet Prime Minister Modi. We told him you have full majority in the Parliament and we have the same in the Assembly. This is a golden opportunity bestowed by God upon us. If PM and we converge then I think Delhi would get full statehood in 10 days," Kejriwal said.
# Azadi mode
From the meeting beginning with 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Inquilaab Zindabad' to Kejriwal ending it with Dushyant Kumar's often-qouted poem 'Aag Jalni Chahiye', the 'azadi (independence)' mood was prevalent throughout the meet. The high-flying flag in the middle of the Central Park added to the feel.
# Dilli ki garmi
It wasn't just the 'Janata ki Cabinet (People's cabinet)' that was turning on the heat. Although Delhiwallahs showed up in huge numbers at the venue, the scorching sun coupled with inadequate seating arrangements led to harrowing times for many. The depleting energy levels were visible with the lukewarm applauses to the ministers who extolled their acheivements and announced big-ticket plans.
After a long tug of war with the media, Kejriwal finally had some kind things to say. When asked about his tussle with the fourth pillar of democracy, the CM stated that he would thank the media and that there was no enmity whatsoever. Just as all thought that the impossible had happened, Kejriwal soon added the 'lies' spread by the media had hurt him.
#Sarcasm and jibes
"Our last PM was on silent mode and the current PM is on flight mode." This statement by SC/ST welfare minister Sandeep Kumar was just the tip of the sarcasm iceberg. Many more jibes particularly aimed at the BJP government were the highlight of the AAP's Jan Samvad.