With a slew of promises to keep — and with the Aam Aadmi lining up with grievances at his doorstep — Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is feeling the time crunch. On Sunday, citizen Kejriwal sought a week to ten days’ time to settle down and put a system in place to start delivering on AAP promises.
“I don’t want to give you false assurances. I will take your applications only when we put a system in place... We have formed the government but a lot needs to be done. We can’t do it alone. We’ll all have to work together,” Kejriwal said, addressing a Janata Durbar outside his residence in Ghaziabad.
For the moment, nobody is grudging Kejriwal his due. The people of Delhi, quite a good chunk of them, are still starry-eyed, their admiration for the man gushing, and their faith in him unflinching.
He will deliver, is the overwhelming consensus. “Give him time, he has just stepped in,” said one fan. “If you take up a new assignment, wouldn’t you take time to settle?”
And Kejriwal has already made the first move to put a system in place. On Saturday, soon after his government was sworn in, he effected a reshuffle of top bureaucrats. The chief minister has also sought the services of a senior bureaucrat currently on deputation with the Union health ministry.
Sources said this senior officer may be named the chief secretary of Delhi.
“If AAP has to carry out its promises it needs to completely overhaul the system for which it would need an experienced and dedicated bureaucrat from outside the Delhi government circle,” said a senior official of the Delhi government.
The rising expectations of the Aam Aadmi hasn’t allowed Kejriwal much rest ever since he took charge as CM. The plaintiffs are many — on Sunday, employees of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and representatives of the Valmiki community were at his residence in Kaushambi, with their list of demands.
The single-panacea image of the AAP has prompted even the sacked employees of Kingfisher Airlines to seek Kejriwal’s intervention to get them justice.
Another person spotted at Kejriwal’s residence on Sunday was a familiar face – that of former Samajwadi Party leader Kamaal Farooqui. He wanted to join the AAP, and more such “good” politicians from “bad” political parties are expected to line-up at the AAP door.
“Right now, everybody wants to in AAP,” said Farooqui, after his meeting with Kejriwal. Confirming the development, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said discussions on “Farooqui joining the party” is on the cards. “We’ll need good leaders from other political parties to fight the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.
In his first speech after becoming chief minster, Kejriwal had given an open call to all honest and like-minded politicians to join the AAP if they wanted to bring about positive change. Looks like, the stage is being set up for rival parties to level allegations of poaching against the AAP.
Meanwhile, AAP has put its growing clout behind the people’s movement against nuclear energy in Kudankulam. AAP leader Prashant Bhushan on Sunday said AAP supported the cause and would be with “the people”. Bhushan was addressing members of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy near the Kudankulam nuclear power project. “We always opposed nuclear energy and also the Kudankulam project. We supported the cause of PMANE in its difficult times,” he said.
With this AAP was also giving indication of its national ambitions. “The national political scenario was looking for a substitute to BJP and Congress. Both these national parties are tainted. So the people of our country installed AAP in power at Delhi,” Bhushan said. Later, he told media that the Centre should take immediate steps to resolve the problem of fishermen getting attacked by the Sri Lankan navy.
Tamil Nadu CM J Jayaalalitha too has been asking the Centre to get tough with Sri Lanka on the killings of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. But with its support to the Kudankulam agitation, AAP has put itself on a collision course with the “Amma” who wants to be PM.
Everyone wants Delhi CM’s help
Kingfisher Airlines employees, who have not been paid their salaries for the past 17 months, on Sunday said they will seek help from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in getting their dues. Earlier in the day, a section of DTC drivers and conductors, employed on contractual basis, reached the AAP founder’s residence to press for their demand of make them permanent employees of the city’s main public transport operator
—With agency inputs