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Kejriwal to take oath as CM on Saturday, says no rift in party

New Delhi, Dec 25 (PTI): Arvind Kejriwal, who led the Aam Aadmi Party to a spectacular victory in the assembly polls and ended the Congress' 15-year rule, will take oath as Delhi's seventh Chief Minister on Saturday at historic Ram Lila Maidan, the venue of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement.

A Magsaysay award winner, 45-year-old Kejriwal and six other AAP MLAs will be sworn-in at a public ceremony at noon to which Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Santosh Hegde and all those associated with the anti-corruption movement will be invited.

The date for the swearing-in ceremony was finalised at a meeting Kejriwal held with Chief Secretary D M Spolia.

The cabinet ministers to take oath along with Kejriwal are Manish Sisodia, Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Girish Soni and Satendra Jain.

Kejriwal, a mechanical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, had defeated three-time Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit in New Delhi constituency by a huge margin of over 25,000 votes.

Earlier, talking to media, Kejriwal denied having any rift within the party on the issue of cabinet berths.

On Tuesday, Laxmi Nagar legislator Binny, a ministerial aspirant, was said to have walked out of a meeting at Kejriwal's house after coming to know that he was not among the probable ministers. But Kejriwal said on Wednesday that the legislator was not interested in a ministerial berth.

“Binny came to me last evening. He told me he does not want a ministerial berth and that he was here for a mission. Binny said he has conveyed to the media that he was not upset,” said Kejriwal.

Binny, on his part, stated that he was not angry and that there was no rift in the party. “There is no rift between me and the party. There is nothing that I was angry about after being denied a post in the ministry,” he told PTI.

As Binny walked out of the party meeting on Tuesday, senior party leaders Sanjay Singh and Kumar Vishwas went to his residence late at night and spoke to him.

Kejriwal said said passage of Jan Lokpal Bill and ensuring “Swaraj” will be his priority.

“As far as Janlokpal and Swaraj are concerned, it is written in the constitution that the Delhi Government has the power to make laws. But now I am told the Centre has given an order that Delhi Government has to take permission from it to make any law. This order is wrong and against the Constitution,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said auditing of private power distribution companies, and his election promise to supply 700 liters of water free to all homes are the focus areas.

”We will work on the supply of water within 24 hours. Every colony has its own problems. We are also working on the reduction in power tariff,” he said.

The AAP leader iterated that his party has no alliance or coalition with anyone. “We are with all those lawmakers of Delhi who think that the problems of Delhi should be put to an end.”

Kejriwal held a 'Janta Darbar' at his residence to listen to people's grievances and suggestions. He assured them that their problems will be taken up on priority basis as soon as he assumes charge.

People insisted that he should take security cover as his life was important for the country.        Kejriwal politely refused taking a security cover saying that people around him are his security.

“Even if I become the Chief Minister, I will continue to meet people in the parks and we are looking for such a flat in Delhi where I can have such a facility.”