New Delhi: Holding out the promise of a "new beginning" in Indian politics, Arvind Kejriwal, who was sworn in as the Delhi Chief Minister on Saturday, said that in the coming 10 years India's "golden age" will be "restored".
"In the coming 10 years, the country will once again live up to its moniker of the golden bird (aane wale das saalon mein desh wapas sone ki chidiya kehlaiga)," Kejriwal said at Ramlila Maidan after his swearing-in ceremony which was attended by several thousand people. In a stirring 20-minute speech Kejriwal, who was sworn in on Saturday as the Chief Minister, asked the people, politicians and bureaucrats to "work together for a greater collective future of the country".
"People of Delhi will have to show it to the people that if we can come together, if all politicians come together and if all officials come together, then there is nothing that we cannot achieve," Kejriwal said drawing a resounding applause.
Wrapped in his usual 'aam aadmi' dress, Kejriwal in his speech promised to the people a "corruption-free government" and "new style" of governance without "arrogance of power". "Our aim was not to get power, to become CM or ministers but to hand the governance back into the hands of the people Kejriwal asked his minsters and partymen to shun arrogance.
"We were born to remove the arrogance of big parties. We should be careful that no other party has to take birth to dismantle us," he said. Minutes after assuming the reins of power, the 45-year-old Magsaysay award-winner laid out a preliminary roadmap for his government in his speech before holding the first cabinet meet later.
Kejriwal was sworn in at the Ramlila Maidan where his mentor and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare's massive rallies for the passage of Janlokpal Bill had thrown this bureaucrat-turned-activist into national prominence.
Wearing a grey chest-open sweater and his trademark footwear, the 45-year-old Chief Minister called the day as "historic" and the formation of his government a "miracle of god". "Two years ago, one could not even imagine such a revolution that the corrupt shall be overthrown and people's rule will be established. It is a miracle of god. And I thank the Supreme Being," he said.
After addressing people at the jam-packed 15-acre venue, Kejriwal paid a floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat before convening the Cabinet meet at the secretariat where he assigned portfolios to his new ministers.
Symbolising humility at the secretariat, the former Indian Revenue Service officer greeted the staff with folded hands and, as in his speech earlier, asked his ministers and workers to be humble and not become "ghamnadi vidhayaks and mantris (arrogant MLAs and ministers).