Anti-graft campaigner regrets quitting Delhi job

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Associated Press

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 4:03 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — An anti-corruption campaigner apologized Wednesday for quitting as the Indian capital's top elected official just 49 days into the job.

"Today I would like to apologize to the people of Delhi and the people of this country. We have made a mistake and I apologize for our mistake," Arvind Kejriwal said at a news conference, adding that his exit made people think they were running away from responsibility.

Kejriwal's upstart Common Man's Party won 27 out of 70 seats in Delhi's state legislature in December. But the minority government resigned in February after Congress party voted with the opposition to block a bill to create a strong ombudsman in the capital.

Rooting out graft and creating the ombudsman position were the party's key aims, and Kejriwal said the party members left government because they did not want to compromise their principles.

Kejriwal led his party's campaign in the recent national election, but the party won only four seats in India's 543-member lower house of Parliament. Kejriwal himself lost by a wide margin to the man who will become India's next prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Delhi state is currently federally ruled, in the absence of an elected government.

Kejriwal said he would seek a fresh mandate from voters in the next Delhi elections. An election date will be decided after the new national government takes office.

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