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Politicians, anti-graft activists, industry body congratulate Kejriwal

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Bangalore, December 28, 2013
First Published: 22:11 IST(28/12/2013) | Last Updated: 22:12 IST(28/12/2013)

Politicians, social activists and The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) congratulated Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal after he was sworn in as the seventh chief minister of Delhi on Saturday.

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called him up in the afternoon, extending his best wishes and support to Kejriwal.

The Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left parties also congratulated the new Delhi CM, hoping the AAP government will “live up to the expectations” and fulfil its poll promises.

The AAP, which fought the December 4 elections on promises of a corruption-free Delhi and better civic amenities, paved way for the Congress’ ouster from power. The AAP, with 28 legislators, however, needs the crucial support of eight Congress MLAs to form a stable government in the 70-member House. 

In line with former chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s statement on Monday, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said today the party would “continue their support” if the new regime fulfilled the promises made earlier. “He (Kejriwal) has become the CM... and I hope he will fulfil the promises based on which people voted for him and his party," Ahmed said.

The AAP, besides pledging to root out corruption, has promised a lower power tariff and free water supply to each household using up to 700litre a day — a commitment which, according to experts, is a tough task.

BJP president Rajnath Singh, too, congratulated Kejriwal while refraining from attacking the AAP, which has spoiled the saffron party’s chances of forming a government. With 32 MLAs, the BJP is the single largest party in Delhi. “I wish the AAP and the Congress will give a stable government,” Singh said.

Harsh Vardhan, the BJP’s CM nominee in Delhi, said the party would play the role of an “honest, sincere” opposition. Earlier, he had slammed the AAP for joining hands with Congress, saying the rookie party had betrayed the people of Delhi.

The CPI extended support to the AAP government, saying the stand of both parties was “almost similar” on most major issues.

Against the backdrop of the 2014 general elections inching closer, CPI Delhi unit secretary Dhirendra Sharma said he welcomed “the positive change” brought in by the electorate of Delhi after “discarding the Congress and BJP”.

The CII said it expected a strong partnership with the AAP government. In a statement issued after the swearing-in, Chandrajit Banerjee, CII director general, said, “CII looks forward to a strong partnership between the state government and industry.”

He added, “CII is confident that the new government would be industry-friendly.”

Social activists, who have fought alongside Kejriwal for a corruption-free India, sent their best wishes after his ascent to power.

“I think whatever is happening is very good for Indian democracy. It is breaking monopolies, setting new trends and questioning the status quo, and the way we would run political parties and democracy,” former IPS officer-turned-activist Kiran Bedi said.

“How much he (Kejriwal) succeeds, only time will tell. But, he is a determined person," she added.

Anna Hazare, the anti-graft crusader who launched a campaign for Jan Lokpal at Ramlila Maidan in 2011 alongside Kejriwal, sent his best wishes to the AAP leader, who was sworn in at the same venue.

The two have parted ways since, but Hazare said on Saturday, “Today Arvind is taking oath as Delhi CM. Whatever Arvind is doing as a common man, should be done by politicians; only then will the nation progress.”

AAP leader Prashant Bhushan, who had earlier expressed doubt about the stability of his party's government, said, “Today is a historic day. We have embarked on a journey, and our mission is to lead the country to a fundamental change.”

(With inputs from IANS, ANI, PTI)

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