Crusader becomes chief minister of India's capital

NEW DELHI — Tens of thousands of people cheered Saturday as an anticorruption crusader who heads a new political party vowing to uproot graft from Indian politics was sworn in as the chief minister of India's capital.

Aam Aadmi, or the Common Man's Party, won 28 of New Delhi's 70 assembly seats in elections held this month, paving the way for its leader, Arvind Kejriwal, 45, to take office. Kejriwal, a former civil servant, campaigned to rid the government of corruption and inefficiency.

The Congress Party, which ruled Delhi for three terms before Kejriwal's upstart party trounced it in the elections, has thrown its support behind Aam Aadmi.

The fledgling party's success stems from its focus on eliminating corruption that plagues all levels of India's government, from top officials and ministers to minor bureaucrats demanding bribes for basic services.

The party's symbol — a broom — and its vow to sweep the administration of graft struck a chord with residents fed up with venal politicians, runaway inflation and slow economic growth. The Congress party has been blamed for widespread corruption.

Addressing the crowds soon after taking office, Kejriwal said his year-old party's overwhelming success in the elections was due to the people's growing anger over corruption.

"This is a huge victory for the people of Delhi," he said to loud applause. "The people of Delhi have shown that elections can be fought and won with honesty."

Antigraft campaigner Arvind Kejriwal takes charge as the chief minister of Delhi in New Delhi.

Antigraft campaigner Arvind Kejriwal takes charge as the chief minister of Delhi in New Delhi.

Crusader becomes chief minister of India's capital 12/28/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 29, 2013 12:31am]

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