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Lash of 'love' for Modi and BJP

A child dressed as Arvind Kejriwal at the Ramlila Maidan on Saturday. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, Feb. 14: The capital's new chief minister today spoke of the politics of "harmony" as he ripped into the BJP in a post-swearing-in speech that referred to attempts to foment trouble and repeated attacks on churches.

Narendra Modi too wasn't spared the Valentine's Day lash of "love and brotherhood", with Arvind Kejriwal saying the Prime Minister was too busy to "monitor the police" when women are assaulted in Delhi.

Sources said the comments were aimed at the BJP-ruled central government, which controls law and order in Delhi - a Union territory whose police chief reports to the lieutenant governor.

The Aam Aadmi Party wants full-fledged statehood for the capital.

At Ramlila Maidan, soon after taking oath as chief minister for the second time, Kejriwal referred to the attacks on churches in Delhi. "I want to tell those who are doing this kind of politics to stop. People of Delhi will not accept them," Kejriwal said, before going on to stress that he wanted to ensure that every "Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Jain" felt "safe and secure".

"We want to do the politics of love and brotherhood and not the politics spreading poison," he said.

Yesterday, vandals broke into a Catholic school, in the sixth attack on a Christian institution in the capital in two months.

Kejriwal said his government was committed to providing a secure atmosphere for people from every religion. "In Delhi people celebrate Diwali, Id, Christmas and other religious festivals together. People here love communal harmony," he added, emphasising that it was the government's responsibility to ensure that feeling of safety among citizens of all faiths.

The AAP leader, who met Modi on Thursday, also took a dig at the Prime Minister as he repeated his demand for full statehood for Delhi. "The PM has to look after the whole country. He also has to travel abroad. He does not have the time to monitor the police when some rapes take place in Delhi.

"During my meeting, I told the PM that he should give full statehood to Delhi so that he can govern the country properly and leave Delhi to me," Kejriwal said, drawing cheers from the crowd that had gathered for the swearing-in.

He then went on to talk about Delhi's "VIP culture", in another dig at the Prime Minister.

"Do you like it when you are held up in traffic for hours...?" he asked.

"No," roared the crowd.

Kejriwal said he wanted to end this culture of holding up traffic for movement of VIPs.

Traffic is held up when the Prime Minister and the President travel but is not stopped for other ministers.

"In some European countries, the Prime Minister can be found on bus stands. We want to achieve that kind of culture," Kejriwal said.

Although Kejriwal promised that he and his ministers would work round the clock, the scheduled first meeting of the new cabinet could not take place today because the chief minister was running a temperature.

The meeting will be held on Monday.


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