Indian capital's new chief felled by 'Delhi Belly', tweets symptoms
NEW DELHI, India – The Indian capital's new chief minister caused a sensation Monday when he tweeted about missing his first day at the office due to a stomach upset -- but he battled through to fulfill a top campaign pledge of supplying free water.
The news that Aam Admi ("common man") Party chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had honored one of his major promises was overshadowed by his candor about his symptoms.
The anti-corruption champion, sworn in at the weekend, swept to power on a promise to provide greater transparency and he was true to his word, tweeting freely about the "Delhi belly" that had spoiled his first day.
"Running 102 fever since yesterday. Severe loose motions. Sad that I won't be able to attend office today," the former tax official said on his verified Twitter account.
Running 102 fever since yesterday. Severe loose motions. Sad that i won't be able to attend office today.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 30, 2013
He has more than 961,000 followers on Twitter and regularly tweets to share his views. His latest comments were an instant hit on the micro-blogging social media network, with plenty of offers of sympathy -- and jokes.
"Wow (you're) such a wonderful Aam Aadmi (common man). Talking publicly about loose motions. History is made!" said social worker Suryanarayan Ganesh.
True to his famed workaholic nature, Kejriwal ignored a high fever and diarrhea to chair a meeting of water board officials at his modest apartment.
"It was decided all domestic consumers with metered connections will get 20 kiloliters (20,000 liters) of free water every month," the head of Delhi's water board, Vijay Kumar, told reporters outside Kejriwal's apartment.
That decision by the Aam Aadmi Party government, sworn in at the weekend, works out at nearly 700 liters per day.
Critics have said giving out free water will encourage wastefulness in a country where water is in short supply.
Kejriwal, whose pledge to fight for India's "common man" won over voters in New Delhi state polls, had been set to start governing the capital on Monday after being sworn in at the weekend.
But after weeks of rallies in a grueling election campaign that pitted him against the two main political parties, Kejriwal said he been taken ill with diarrhea and a severe fever.
"When the chief minister gives you a minute-by-minute update on his bowel movements -- hail democracy," said Priyanka Chaturvedi, a Congress party spokeswoman.
Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi party was born out of an anti-corruption mass movement two years ago, had pledged to give free water to households in New Delhi. He has also vowed to slash consumers' electricity bills.
Kejriwal's party asked well-wishers and supporters in a tweet to stop flocking to his home in the suburb of Ghaziabad, saying he needed to rest.
Unlike his predecessors, Kejriwal, whose backers range from taxi drivers and teachers to business proprietors and servants, has said he and his ministers will not occupy the sprawling bungalows surrounded by lush lawns built by India's former British colonial rulers.
Congress's rout in Delhi and three other state polls has been seen as one more sign the powerful Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has given India three premiers since independence, may be about to lose office in national elections due in May.
Kejriwal's party is leading the Delhi government with outside support from the Congress party, which rules nationally but was pushed to a distant third place in the Delhi elections.
"Will Arvind Kejriwal pass the motion? That is the question we are asking tonight," tweeted television editor Ritupana Chatterjee. – Rappler.com