India's corruption-buster Kejriwal launches graft hotline

India's corruption fighter and newly elected chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a graft hotline on Wednesday aimed at stopping wrongdoing by bureaucrats. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
India's corruption fighter and newly elected chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a graft hotline on Wednesday aimed at stopping wrongdoing by bureaucrats. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's corruption fighter and newly elected chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a graft hotline on Wednesday aimed at stopping wrongdoing by bureaucrats.

Mr Kejriwal's performance as chief minister of the Indian capital region is being closely watched to see what his rookie Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party can deliver for the rest of India with general elections due in a few months.

Mr Kejriwal, who took office last month, and his party fought the Delhi state elections on a plank of rooting out widespread corruption and giving "clean" administration to the people.

"The aim (of the hotline) is to create a fear amongst the corrupt... to empower the common man against corruption," Mr Kejriwal told reporters.

He said the hotline, to operate between 8am to 10pm, would be run like a call centre and advise people what to do if any government official asks for a bribe to do his duty.

"The people will be told how to conduct a 'sting'. They will be told what questions to ask and where to deliver the money," he said.

He suggested citizens could record conversations with corrupt bureaucrats and use the recordings as "proof" to complain to the already existing anti-corruption department.

Mr Kejriwal, who rode the subway to his swearing-in, has already slashed electricity costs and announced free water supplies.

Mr Kejriwal's party routed the Congress which rules at the national level and has been buffeted by a string of corruption scandals.

Some observers believe Mr Kejriwal's success could mark the start of a bigger campaign to break the grip of the two main parties, Congress, and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, on national politics.

The Aam Aadmi Party announced last weekend it would contest most of the seats in the general elections due to be held by May after its stunning poll performance in the nation's capital last month.

The party's symbol is a broom - to sweep away India's endemic corruption and bribery.

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments