NEW DELHI - Anti-corruption champion Arvind Kejriwal promised to serve “the common man” as he was sworn in Saturday as chief minister of New Delhi in what supporters hope will mark a turning point in India’s graft-ridden politics.

Loud cheers erupted as Kejriwal took the oath in front of tens of thousands of supporters in a Delhi park after living up to his “ordinary man” reputation by riding the subway to the ceremony.

“I will do my duties as a minister honestly,” said Kejriwal, a political outsider who led his rookie anti-graft Aam Admi — Common Man — Party to a stunning electoral performance in state polls this month. Kejriwal, 45, wearing his trademark Gandhian white cap emblazoned with his party’s slogan, “I am a Common Man”, said he had no “magic wand” to the megacity’s massive housing, infrastructure and sanitation problems.

“But the people, not the police or bureaucrats will run government,” he said, adding, “If we all come together then we can change the country,” he said. Cries of “Long Live the Aam Admi Party” rang out from supporters who waved placards declaring “Today Delhi, Tomorrow the Country” as well as brooms — the party’s symbol for “cleaning” India’s corrupt political house.  Police estimated the crowd at up to 100,000.

The party, formed just a year ago, won 28 assembly seats, humiliating the Congress party which was reduced to just eight seats. 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. Aides said Kejriwal, a father of two, had no time for celebrations and would start work immediately.

“He’s a simple man, a workaholic. He rises at 4:30 and goes on to 11:30 at night,” Mayank Gandhi, a new minister, told NDTV news channel.

The ex-tax inspector’s unprecedented move to use public transport to reach the swearing-in echoed his pre-poll pledge to end the culture of privilege surrounding Delhi’s politicians and set a down-to-earth tone for his administration.

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.

Kejriwal, named news weekly India Today’s Newsmaker Of The Year, plans to keep living in his modest flat in a Delhi suburb.

“He has emerged as a new moral force in Indian politics,” wrote India Today editor-in-chief Aroon Purie.

The Ramlila Maidan where Kejriwal took the oath is considered ground zero of India’s anti-corruption movement where huge rallies were held two years ago.

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

Both parties have been tainted by scandals at the national and state levels. But the test would be to grow the Aam Admi Party’s strength in time for the May elections.

“The political evolution has begun across the country,” party spokesman Raghav Chadha said.

The party’s broom symbol underlines its commitment to sweep away a culture of bribery and corruption that critics say has become endemic in politics and in daily life.

Kejriwal came to prominence as an adviser to elderly social activist Anna Hazare whose anti-graft drive galvanised India in 2011.

Kejriwal then went on to found his own party after the men fell out over strategy. Hazare, now 76, believed the fight should remain non-partisan while Kejriwal felt he should enter the electoral fray.

Hazare appeared to give his blessing to his one-time protégé Saturday, telling reporters, “He will do good work.”

The BJP, tipped to win the general elections, came first with 31 seats in the Delhi polls, just short of a majority. Kejriwal will govern with outside support from Congress.

Kejriwal initially refused to team up with Congress, which he had denounced as brazenly corrupt, but bowed to voter demands to form a government.

“I want to see him make a difference in politics,” Munshi, a security guard, who goes by one name, told AFP.

He faces no easy task in governing Delhi, one of the world’s most congested, slum-ridden and polluted cities, lacking proper sanitation and reliable power and whose roads are full of bone-jolting potholes.

But “he (Kejriwal) has captured the anger everyone feels against corruption — he is one of us,” prominent commentator Suhel Seth told a TV channel.