Arvind Kejriwal at his swearing-in ceremony at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan. (AFP)
- Arvind Kejriwal and his six ministers took oath today at a mega ceremony
- In his address after oath, Mr Kejriwal dedicated his victory to people
- AAP won elections with 62 seats - a near repeat of its 2015 tally
Arvind Kejriwal and his six ministers took oath on Sunday at a mega ceremony at Ramlila Maidan, outside Delhi's iconic Red Fort, that was attended by a huge crowd. Mr Kejriwal's key ministers -- Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain and Rajendra Gautam - will be part of his new cabinet. There are no women and no new faces in Mr Kejriwal's cabinet. Dedicating his victory to the people, Mr Kejriwal, in his address, said, "Elections are over now. No matter who you voted for, you are part of my family.Party affiliations never stopped me from working for anyone". Delhi has re-elected Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party with 62 seats - a near repeat of its 2015 tally of 67 seats -- at the end of one of the most polarising campaigns in the backdrop of the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests.
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"During the campaign, politics happen and it did happen. I forgive you for all the things you have said against me, I request you also to forget all negative things. We have to work together for the progress of Delhi. We will work with the Centre too," Mr Kejriwal said.
"I had invited the Prime Minister too, but maybe he was busy with some other work. I want to say through this platform, I want his and everyone's blessing," he added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi skipped the ceremony and is on a visit to his constituency, Varanasi.
"Everyone says Kejriwal is making everything free. But the best things in the world are free, like a mother's love... Kejriwal loves the people of Delhi. This love is also free. Should I start collecting fees from students? From patients for their medical bills and medicines? Would be shame if I did that," Mr Kejriwal said, addressing one of the biggest accusations of the BJP.
No new ministers are likely to be added to the Delhi cabinet, sources said, amid speculation that new faces like Atishi and Raghav Chadha may be included this time.
In a tweet this morning, Mr Kejriwal asked the people of Delhi to bless their son. "Taking oath today for the third time as the Delhi CM. Please come to Ramlila Maidan to bless your son," his tweet in Hindi read.
The oath ceremony at Ram Lila maidan - where Mr Kejriwal took oath twice earlier -- was attended by thousands. AAP had kept the guest list small, not inviting leaders and Chief Ministers from other states, saying the event will be "Delhi-specific". With front-page advertisements in newspapers, the party asked residents of the city to the ceremony.
AAP had also invited 50 school teachers, doctors, exam toppers, auto drivers, caretakers and sanitation workers, who have been dubbed "Dilli Ke Nirmata (Makers of Delhi)". "Politicians come and go.... but if the city makes progress, it is because of these people," Mr Kejriwal said.
"Baby Mufflerman", a special guest, was the centre of attention at the event. The photo of the one-year-old in spectacles and Mr Kejriwal's signature muffler, took Twitterby storm as the votes were counted on Tuesday.
The Delhi Police made elaborate security arrangements for the event, posting 2,000 to 3,000 personnel, among whom are CRPF and other paramilitary troops. Drones are likely to be used for surveillance. Traffic regulations have been put in place in the area adjoining Ramlila Maidan from 8 am to 2 pm.
On the eve of the oath 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.