Ghaziabad/New Delhi, Dec 29: It was his first Sunday after becoming Delhi’s chief minister, but it was like a normal working day for Arvind Kejriwal. The Aam Aadmi Party leader had his hands full after an unending stream of people called on him at his modest middle-class residence.
The crowd that came to meet the 45-year-old AAP leader taking charge of Delhi included known names like Kamal Farooqui of the Samajwadi Party, some 500 drivers and conductors of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and municipal workers.
The controversy created by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari’s remarks of a “deal” between the Congress and AAP on forming the Delhi government refused to die down Sunday with both parties asking Gadkari to provide evidence.
Kejriwal, who has been suffering from a bad cough for days, was not well enough to attend a morning “havan” his father Govind Ram Kejriwal had organised at a nearby temple.
An AAP member told IANS that Kejriwal had fever and also had his blood samples taken.
But he had time for most of those who called on him — or those who simply wanted to take a glimpse of the founder leader of the AAP.
The DTC crew, holding applications for making their jobs permanent, poured out their woes to Kejriwal — and begged that they be given permanent jobs in the bus fleet.
Kejriwal heard them out and told them to give him a week or 10 days so that a system can be set up where representations given by people could be read and acted upon.
“Please give me a week to 10 days time to settle down. We have just assumed power. I will accept your applications when we have a system in place to resolve the problems,” he said.
The DTC crew appeared pleased with the response.
Farooqui spent an hour with Kejriwal but did not give a direct answer when journalists asked him if he was joining the AAP.
“The whole country wants to join the AAP. I am sure you also want to join the AAP,” the former Samajwadi Party national secretary told the media.
Kejriwal, usually an early riser, got up around 8 a.m. and after breakfast started meeting people, who had begun thronging outside his house from 7 a.m.
After the DTC employees, came ‘safai karmcharis’ (sanitation workers) to demand regularisation of employment. Later, employees of power ultlity BSES and representatives of a teachers’ association also came to meet him.
AAP member Sanjay Singh held a “janta durbar” for the people for a hour.
After having lunch around 2 p.m., Chief Minister Kejriwal retired for some time. He met his secretary Rajendra Kumar to discuss issues around 4 p.m.
A party member said a family doctor came to see Kejriwal and gave him some medication.
The Pension Parishad Sunday sent Kejriwal a letter urging him to take action on its demand for “universalising pension at half the minimum wage”.
The Girnar Tower in Kaushambi township where Kejriwal lives with his wife, two schoolgoing children and parents, has been attracting large crowds since it became known that the former income tax official would be the chief minister.
With crowds thronging Kejriwal’s residence, Uttar Pradesh Police personnel have been deployed at the entrance and a metal detector placed at the entrance to the apartment block.
Ten Uttar Pradesh policeme would be stationed round the clock for security.
AAP leader Manish Sisodia, who is a minister in the Delhi government, Sunday took objection to BJP leader Gadkari’s remarks about the AAP’s alleged deal with the Congress and said the BJP leader should give names.
“Which hotel was it? Who were the people so that we may also ask people in our party?” Sisodia told reporters.
Shakeel Ahmed, Congress general secretary in charge of Delhi, said Gadkari’s remarks were “ridiculous and a complete lie”.
Kejriwal had Saturday refuted Gadkari’s charges and said it was unfortunate that a senior leader was making such unfounded allegations.