By Alok Singh and Gaurav Sharma
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday made a passionate appeal for clean politics in the country, shortly before winning a critical trust vote for his minority AAP government.
With the Congress and two other legislators backing him, the confidence vote moved by Education Minister Manish Sisodia was passed 37-32, with the BJP voting against the five-day-old government.
Seven of the eight Congress legislators — the eighth, Mateen Ahmed, was in the chair — voted for the government along with an independent as well as the sole Janata Dal-United member.
After winning 28 seats in the 70-strong Delhi assembly, the Aam Aadmi Party — whose stunning election debut has created ripples across India — needed to win Thursday’s vote to remain in office.
Both before and after crossing that hurdle, Kejriwal, 45, outlined his vision of a corruption-free India and said that the time had come to usher in politics devoid of taint.
“(This) is a victory for the people of Delhi. It is a victory for truth and honesty,” a confident Kejriwal later said of the house vote.
Speaking after over three hours of animated debate, Kejriwal told the house that he wanted to end the VIP culture in India, punish the corrupt, and generate hope among the millions who now feel deprived and lost.
In comments sharply critical of the political establishment, the income tax official-turned-activist-turned politician linked the dramatic rise of the AAP to the way the India has been run since independence in 1947.
In 65 long years since the British Raj ended, the “aam aadmi” — he kept returning to the theme — did not get the governance he wanted.
Pointing out at the failures of the authorities to provide basic essential services in the country, he sought to know where did the crores and crores of rupees that successive governments spent really go.
“This is what the aam aadmi wants to know… The politics of this country has become corrupt. We have to admit it.”
Kejriwal, whose speech was heard in pin drop silence, said everything people desire was in a bad shape, be it education, health services, roads, and power and water supply.
He also mocked at the political class, saying “leaders” don’t work on fields, don’t build houses, don’t drive auto-rickshaws, don’t do research, and don’t go the moon.
“We have to transform this politics.”
He said he wanted the kind of politics AAP had introduced in Delhi to engulf the whole of India.
The AAP, he said, was born to fight elections honestly and without black money. “It was a battle of the impossible.”
“The politician used to taunt us, asking us to fight elections,” he said. “Who imagined that a one-year-old party will get 28 seats?”
The AAP’s near victory — it finished only three seats short of the Bharatiya Janata Party — and its rise to power “is the first step” in the path to crush “the politics of corruption in the country”, he said.
He outlined 17 issues his party was wedded to, including framing a stringent Jan Lokpal bill to severely punish the corrupt, ensuring basic services to the ‘aam aadmi’, the rule of ‘swaraj’, protecting women, and providing better educational and health services.
He also came out against demolition of the hutments of the poor — and underlined that farmers whose land is taken away for development should be adequately compensated.
Kejriwal also explained who is an “aam aadmi”. “We consider every citizen who is honest, rich or poor, an aam aadmi.”