Hours after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced its intent to form a government in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal - who is set to become Delhi’s next chief minister, turned down the police offer to provide him security cover. This is the third time since October that Kejriwal has refused police protection.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal arrives to address a press conference at the party headquarters in Ghaziabad. (AFP photo)
Kejriwal also decided that neither he nor any of his ministers would move to the bungalows provided by the government and insisted that they are given smaller government flats.
The Delhi government ministers are entitled to five-bedroom, Type-8 government houses.
As Kejriwal refused the high-security cover by saying that ‘God’ was his protector, his request to Delhi Police to provide help for crowd management or security at places where he might get mobbed has left the police baffled.
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Leader of AAP, Arvind Kejriwal before meeting with Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in New Delhi. (Sonu Mehta/ HT Photo)
On Monday, V Renganathan, additional CP (security wing of Delhi police), wrote a letter to Kejriwal, asking where he wanted security.
The chief ministers of Delhi are provided Z category security, which includes one escort team comprising an officer-in-charge and two armed constables. Two personal security officers (PSOs) are attached to the CM round-the-clock.
The official residence of the CM gets one head constable and four constables or two head constables and eight constables, depending on the size of the house.
"Since Mr Arvind Kejriwal is going to take over as chief minister of Delhi, Delhi Police need to give the security cover to him as per norms," said the letter.
Kejriwal thanked the police for the offer.
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"I don’t need any security, I don’t need any escort or PSO," Kejriwal wrote. The CM-designate, however, made a smart move by making a request to Delhi Police to provide help in crowd management or security at his venues.
"This request itself means that we will have to keep a track of his movements in the city. Our staff will have to be with him all the time," a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.
While Kejriwal has agreed to a smaller government flat, officials said the CM needs a bigger house with a big lawn or open space where he can meet people and accommodate his personal staff.
"BJP’s first chief minister of Delhi Madan Lal Khurana had refused an official bungalow initially and had operated from his own house in West Delhi for almost eight months. Later he realised there was little space to meet people there and shifted to official residence at Sham Nath Marg," an official said.
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