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Kejriwal to take Metro to reach Ramlila Maidan

By:  Tupaki Desk   |   27 Dec 2013 1:51 PM GMT
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is bitterly against the ubiquitous "VIP culture", will take the Delhi Metro Saturday to reach the Ramlila Maidan to take oath as Delhi's chief minister.

The 45-year-old Kejriwal has also told his six colleagues who will become cabinet ministers to use the public transport -- and invited everyone in the capital and elsewhere to attend the official event.

"I will travel by Metro for the oath taking ceremony," Kejriwal told the media outside the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office on Hanuman Road here.

He will board the metro at Kaushambi, a township in Ghaziabad adjoining Delhi, on the Dwarka-Vaishali Blue Line at around 11 in the morning.

“Along with my family I will travel upto Barakhamba metro station and then head towards Ramlila Maidan in car,” said Kejriwal.

Manish Sisodia, a party leader, said Kejriwal had told his six proposed ministers to use the public transport to reach Ramlila Maidan, a sprawling ground in the heart of Delhi.

"We are using public transport to bring an end to the VIP culture," Sisodia told reporters outside Kejriwal's residence.

Added Somnath Bharti, who like Sisodia will be sworn in as a minister: "We have not stitched (special) dresses (for the event). We are going to be normal.

"None of our family members will have special seats, not even the MLAs," he said.

After the swearing in ceremony, Kejriwal will first go to Rajghat -- the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi -- before heading to the Delhi Secreteriat for a cabinet meeting.

In a tweet, Kejriwal, who will head a minority government propped up by the Congress, said everyone was welcome to the Ramlila Maidan.

"Many people (are) asking me for passes for (the) oath ceremony. No passes needed. All are welcome. It's (your) programme," he said.

"My family will also sit (among the) public," said the father of two whose wife works for the income tax department, where Kejriwal too worked until he decided to embrace social activism and, later, politics.

Kejriwal has refused to accept security from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police -- he lives in Ghaziabad district neighbouring Delhi. He has also refused to use official vehicles with red beacons.

The AAP, which stunned everyone by bagging 28 of the 70 seats in the Delhi election, just three seats behind the BJP, is expecting thousands of people to throng the Ramlila Maidan Saturday.

AAP has invited Gandhian activist Anna Hazare, former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde and former police officer Kiran Bedi for the swearing in.

The Ramlila Maidan was where Hazare undertook a 12-day anti-corruption fast in 2011 with Kejriwal as one of his aides, triggering mass solidarity protests across India.

Hegde and Bedi were part of that campaign. Kejriwal, who formed the AAP in November last year, has since had a fallout with Hazare and Bedi.

Delhi Police sources said some 25,000 chairs had been provided at the ground, which can also reportedly accommodate around 50,000 more people if they stand.

The traffic police has asked motorists to avoid roads leading to Ramlila Maidan.

Metro officials said they were not making "any special arrangements" for Kejriwal and his party colleagues.