New Delhi: In his speech in the Delhi Assembly yesterday, Arvind Kejriwal, the 45-year-old chief minister of Delhi, deftly displayed the political vocabulary that powered his outsized victory in the recent elections.
"We are not here to make or save this government," he said before winning a trust vote. "This is about a war against corruption." (Highlights of Arvind Kejriwal's speech)
It was Mr Kejriwal's uncompromising emphasis on expunging graft and what he describes as "VIP culture" from politics that enabled his one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party or AAP to land an improbable second place in last month's election. (Delhi Assembly: see the numbers here)
The AAP forced the ruling Congress into third spot, and blocked the BJP from winning a majority. It is now in power with the Congress purveying external support.
"It felt like a miracle when we won," the former tax official said in the assembly yesterday, "but this is what happens when the aam aadmi (common man) is taunted, betrayed by politicians," he professed. (Rate Arvind Kejriwal's speech in the Delhi Assembly)
Earlier, BJP leaders asked him to explain why he has aligned with the Congress, a party he has habitually decried for moral decrepitude.
"Let me guarantee that we will investigate and prosecute charges of corruption against everyone, irrespective of which party they belong to," Mr Kejriwal said.
In the five days since he took office, Mr Kejriwal and his ministers have tried to prove their commitment to governing in collaboration with the people, rejecting the litany of perquisites attendant with their posts.
For example, they have refused red lights or lal battis for their cars, which entitle politicians to the right of way. Ministers have been taking the metro or auto-rickshaws to work - gestures described as crass photo-ops by the opposition BJP today.
"Many people say that by not using a lal batti, I am wasting valuable time when i am waiting at a traffic light," Mr Kejriwal said. "I disagree."