- Arvind Kejriwal is likely to start his third stint with his old team
- The AAP has billed the swearing-in as a “Delhi-specific” affair
- AAP expects around 1 lakh people to attend the oath ceremony
New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal will take oath as Delhi Chief Minister for the third time today at the capital’s Ramlila Maidan following his party’s stunning victory in this month’s assembly election. Mr Kejriwal’s AAP had scooped up 62 of the Delhi’s 70 seats, leaving just eight for the opposition BJP, in a near-identical result to the 2015 polls. Mr Kejriwal has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seven BJP parliamentarians who represent the city and all eight newly-elected BJP MLAs to his swearing-in ceremony. The Prime Minister, however, is scheduled to visit his constituency Varanasi to inaugurate various projects and is likely to not attend the swearing-in.
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The AAP chief is likely to start his third stint with his old team. Sources say no new ministers are likely to be added to the Delhi cabinet, amid speculation that new faces like Atishi and Raghav Chadha may be included this time.
The old team – Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain and Rajendra Gautam – were appointed ministers in the Delhi government, an official notification from President Ram Nath Kovind’s office said. They are likely to take oath along with Mr Kejriwal today around noon.
On the eve of swearing-in ceremony, Mr Kejriwal called a dinner meeting of his ministers-designate to discuss the roadmap for the next five years, especially the initiatives that need to be prioritised in the coming three months, according to party functionaries.
Mr Kejriwal’s party has billed the swearing-in as a “Delhi-specific” affair, not inviting any top opposition leaders or Chief Ministers from other states. With front-page advertisements in newspapers, the AAP chief has urged invited residents of the city to the ceremony.
The event will see around 50 school teachers, doctors, exam toppers, auto drivers, caretakers and sanitation workers, dubbed “Dilli Ke Nirmata (Makers of Delhi)”, share the stage with Mr Kejriwal and other dignitaries.
Delhi’s iconic Ramlila Maidan, which served as the battleground for the 51-year-old bureaucrat-turned-politician during the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption movement, has been dressed up for the event. Big banners with messages like “Dhanyawad Dilli (Thank You Delhi)” along with the image of the AAP chief were put up on Saturday.
The sprawling ground has a capacity of about 1.25 lakh people and AAP expects around 1 lakh people to attend it, news agency ANI reported. The event will begin at 10 am with the swearing-in expected around 12:15 pm, sources said.
The police have made elaborate security arrangements for the event. Nearly 3,000 security personnel will be called in for the event, news agency PTI reported. CCTV cameras and drones will also be used. The Delhi police have announced traffic restrictions on roads in central Delhi that will be in effect from 8 am to 2 pm.
In 2015 too, Mr Kejriwal’s oath-taking ceremony took place at the Ramlila Maidan. It was held on February 14, coinciding with Valentine’s Day. In 2013 after his party’s first poll victory, the swearing-in ceremony was again held at the same venue.
Mr Kejriwal says AAP’s victory signals the victory of a “new kind of politics”, one based on work. On the day of his victory, Mr Kejriwal had said in his first words: “Dilliwalon, gazab kar diya aap logon ne (Delhi, you have done wonders). I love you!”