Having successfully run an unorthodox election campaign, full of experiments, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal is bracing for an out-of-the-box stint as Delhi’s chief minister.
The chief minister-designate of Delhi says he will not hang around much in the Delhi Secretariat, which houses the CM’s office on its third floor.
“We’re here to break traditions; I will be mostly on the roads,” he told HT in front of his house in Ghaziabad. “This is the time to work, fulfill people’s dreams. But even after swearing-in, I want to remain as accessible as I have always been,” he said.
Read: Kejriwal to take oath as Delhi's CM on Dec 28, floor test by Jan 3
FOR PUBLIC MEETS
“I’m looking for a small house in Delhi with a park in front for public meets,” said the AAP leader who will take oath as Delhi’s seventh CM on Saturday. He is currently holding public meetings at Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh where he lives. The 45-year-old activist-turned-politician has already refused a government bungalow in Delhi as well as police security.
While public meetings will help him know people’s problems, his staying away from the seat of power will mean he will take first-hand stock of execution of public welfare schemes on the ground.
“I have no jaadu ki chhadi. I will try to solve problems with public participation. Nothing is impossible if honest people join hands,” he said, fresh from his daily janata darbar.
Read: Kejriwal says Centre can't muzzle AAP's janlokpal promise in Delhi
How will he plan to deliver on poll promises? “I have given a lot of work to senior bureaucrat Rajendra Kumar. I meet him frequently. He’s bringing a lot of data, statistics.”
At present Delhi’s higher education secretary, Kumar (47) is tipped to become the principal secretary to Kejriwal. His six ministers will also be sworn in on Saturday. “We will announce the portfolios of our ministers only during the oath-taking ceremony. I will also keep a few,” he said.
But has he chosen his team of officers? “I request all honest bureaucrats to come forward, send texts, letters, e-mails to me. I have a team to process these, pick the best to run Delhi. We will give such officers good positions in our government, and take their help to make strategies.”
Kejriwal appealed to all honest officers to contact him who have been suspended, and their pension, medical and other dues have not been cleared. He wants to build his core team of officers of high integrity and place good officers at key places of governance.
“For the first time, a chief minister is looking for honest officials to work for him. The general practice has been to look for those who can help earn corrupt money. If we want a corruption-free government, honest officials will have to join hands.” But how would he measure honesty? “We have a network and we will find out.”
Kejriwal said his heart goes out to those who are suffering in the winter cold. “There are 1.7 crore people in Delhi. We must help these sufferers whose number may not be more than 1 lakh,” he said before rushing to meet party volunteers.
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Read: Kejriwal goes back to where it all started, Ramlila Maidan