New Delhi: With the swearing-in ceremony at the Ramleela grounds, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal has become the seventh Chief Minister of Delhi. At 45 years four months and 14 days, Kejriwal who was born on August 16, 1968 in Haryana's Siwani is the youngest Chief Minister of the city state.
The mega event witnessed a crowd of approximately 2 lakh people at the historic Ramlila Maidan. It only the second time that a chief minister was sworn in at an open ground. The first time this happened was in 1996 when BJP's Sahib Singh Verma was administered the oath of office and secrecy at Chhatrasal Stadium. Kejriwal will be sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung along with six other AAP MLAs.
Kejriwal boarded the metro train for the swearing-in ceremony at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday. His six colleagues, who also took oath as ministers, also used the metro train from Kaushambi to Barakhamba Road to the venue.
He had made it clear that no VIP passes have been issued to anyone and the ceremony is open for all "aam aadmis" (common people).
The event was held amidst tight security and a central control room had been set up at the venue for real-time monitoring of the event.
As Kejriwal takes oath as the Delhi Chief Minister, a lot of expectations of the 'aam aadmi' lie on his shoulders.
With a steep hike of 4.50 per kg in CNG price, Kejriwal is already facing a daunting task as his party banks heavily on the support of Delhi's over 1 lakh auto drivers. Auto drivers and 10,000 taxi drivers are threatening to go on strike from January 7 if CNG prices that were raised on Thursday are not rolled back.
In order to avoid a tough situation merely days after taking oath, Kejriwal has requested auto drivers not to go on strike. "I appeal to the auto drivers not to go on strike. I request them to give me two days time. If price hike is unavoidable, then auto fares will have to be hiked," he said.
In addition to tackling the issue of an imminent auto and taxi strike, the Aam Aadmi Party also has to focus on fulfilling the poll promise of free water and massive cut in electricity bills. These two promises are rather impractical to implement, say experts.
Sanjay Sharma, a water consultant who advised the AAP, agrees that ensuring water supply to every household in Delhi is a difficult task. The cost if one uses only 700 litres will be zero, according to the AAP manifesto. He said, "Providing 700 litre everyday is a tough job as there is an inequitable distribution of water. It will take time to arrange equitable water supply."
But experts argue that promised 700 litres is a gross overestimation of demand and they say the consumption is not more than 350 litres per day per household.
All eyes are now on the 14-month-old debutant party which registered a thumping victory by winning 28 seats out of 70 in the Delhi Assembly. Kejriwal has a pivotal task in his hand that how soon and how well the AAP is able to fulfill its commitments as the Delhiites are keenly waiting to measure the gap between promise and performance.