1:01 pm - Tuesday January 31, 2023

Delhi’s new chief minister A. Kejriwal, rejects VIP security

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Delhi's new chief minister A. Kejriwal, rejects VIP security
Delhi's new chief minister A. Kejriwal, rejects VIP security

The former tax inspector Arvind Kejriwal and activist who is to be Delhi’s new chief minister, the top elected official in the metropolis, has refused police protection, saying that his “biggest security” is God.

Arvind Kejriwal also decided that neither he nor any of his ministers would move to the bungalows provided by the government and insisted that they are given smaller government flats.

The Delhi government ministers are entitled to five-bedroom, Type-8 government houses.

Arvind Kejriwal, leader of a new populist political party “dedicated to improving the lot of the common man”, announced on Monday that he would form a government to run the sprawling, troubled and increasingly wealthy city of 15 million people.

The 45-year-old novice politician, who has vowed to end the “VIP culture” of the capital, also said that new ministers would refuse to accept the large government bungalows that are customary perks of such posts as well as cars that use flashing red beacons to force their way through traffic.

On Monday, V Renganathan, additional CP (security wing of Delhi police), wrote a letter to Kejriwal, asking where he wanted security.

The chief ministers of Delhi are provided Z category security, which includes one escort team comprising an officer-in-charge and two armed constables. Two personal security officers (PSOs) are attached to the CM round-the-clock.

Their key pledge was to clean up politics and the endemic corruption that has crippled the provision of public service for the many millions who cannot afford to pay for private healthcare, schooling or even basics such as water.

The official residence of the CM gets one head constable and four constables or two head constables and eight constables, depending on the size of the house.

Kejriwal’s announcement ended two weeks of speculation and fears of a hung assembly in Delhi, a city which has become much richer in recent years but faces huge problems of crime, sanitation, housing and pollution .

“This request itself means that we will have to keep a track of his movements in the city. Our staff will have to be with him all the time,” a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity.

While Kejriwal has agreed to a smaller government flat, officials said the CM needs a bigger house with a big lawn or open space where he can meet people and accommodate his personal staff.

“BJP’s first chief minister of Delhi Madan Lal Khurana had refused an official bungalow initially and had operated from his own house in West Delhi for almost eight months. Later he realised there was little space to meet people there and shifted to official residence at Sham Nath Marg,” an official said.

The new government will be sworn in on Thursday. The BJP called the AAP’s decision a betrayal. “The AAP accused the Congress of being the most corrupt. Today they have compromised on their principles. This is gross betrayal,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.

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