Delhi’s new Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Saturday he would make India’s capital “corruption free” in five years after he and his cabinet were sworn in. "Last time we had romanticism; now we have confidence that we will make Delhi the first corruption-free state," Kejriwal said soon after he took the oath of office exactly a year after he had quit as the chief minister when his then-minority government could not get an anti-corruption legislation passed in the capital's local assembly.
"If anyone asks you for a bribe, don't refuse. Use your phone to record his voice, give it to me," he said.
On Tuesday, Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won a landslide election to Delhi’s assembly as it secured 67 out of 70 constituencies, while India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won just three.
The AAP won the election riding on an anti-corruption and a pro-common man agenda and on a string of populist promises including subsidized electricity, water and other basic necessities.
"We will always walk the path of truth," Kejriwal had reportedly said in his victory speech on the day of the results, adding, "It is very scary, the kind of support the people of Delhi have given us."
Kejriwal also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government to grant full statehood to the city, some of whose administrative wings, most importantly the police, come under federal control.
The electoral outcome has been widely regarded as the first setback for India’s ruling BJP since it came to power at the national level in May last year. Although the results of the local Delhi election would not immediately impact the national political equation, it was keenly watched as the BJP’s loss is the first political challenge to Modi, who had never lost an election contested under his watch since taking over as chief minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat in October 2001.
While the AAP won 54.3 percent of the popular vote, the BJP was a distant second with 33.2 percent. The Congress party got only 9.7 percent of the votes. This qualifies as the second-biggest victory in any election, state or federal, since the country became independent in 1947. The BJP also lost the constituency from where its candidate for chief minister, Kiran Bedi, was contesting -- its first defeat in over two decades there -- underlining the scale of the party's defeat.