New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal said this morning that he has abandoned plans to move into a 9000 square-feet, five-bedroom duplex house in the heart of Delhi because of the controversy it has generated.
"There's a lot of controversy about my new house...I have received phone calls from friends and well-wishers. So I have decided not to move to the new house. I will ask for another smaller house," the Aam Aadmi Party chief said, adding, "Like Caesar's wife we have to be above suspicion and we have to subject ourselves to scrutiny." (Watch)
Mr Kejriwal later tweeted, "Many ordinary supporters were hurt by houses identified for me by delhi govt. As i have always said, i am noone. I am for their service.... In accordance with their wishes, i give up these houses and will ask delhi govt to look for smaller house....but friends, i wud need to have two adjacent houses, one of them as an office. Else i wud become ineffective (sic)."
For the one week since he was sworn in, the Delhi chief minister has operated out of his apartment in suburban Ghaziabad.
He announced yesterday that he would soon move into the five-bedroom Duplex on Bhagwan Das Road, a house not quite as grand as the bungalow his predecessor Sheila Dikshit lived in, but not quite aam aadmi either.
He has been allotted two, identical adjacent houses and had said that he would use the second as an office. (See pics)
Mr Kejriwal's family, including his parents, had visited the houses on Friday morning and work was on to fit them out to suit the new Chief Minister's need.
Living on Bhagwan Das Road would give Mr Kejriwal the advantage of being close to the Delhi Secretariat and the Aam Aadmi Party's office in Connaught Place. It is also in Mr Kejriwal's New Delhi assembly constituency.
Right now he travels at least 12 km every day to reach work.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders have made a virtue of living like the aam aadmi or common man and have vowed to eschew the VIP trappings that come with political posts. One of the party's key election promises was to rid Delhi of its "VIP culture".
So many eyebrows shot up on Friday when some of Mr Kejriwal's ministers arrived for work in government-allotted Innova cars after a week of much-hyped travel by public transport. "We never said anything about not using cars. We said we will not use red beacon cars," Mr Kejriwal explained. (Read)