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Delhi's Crusading Chief Minister Resigns, Slams Main Parties

Arvind Kejriwal addresses his supporters in New Delhi, India, on Friday after announcing his resignation as chief minister of Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal addresses his supporters in New Delhi, India, on Friday after announcing his resignation as chief minister of Delhi.

He said he represented the common man, and he caused a political earthquake in India when his party's election performance catapulted him to the chief minister's office in Delhi. On Friday — less than two months later — Arvind Kejriwal announced he was resigning after his effort to pass an anti-corruption bill was blocked by lawmakers in the state assembly.

"They know that if this law is brought in, their leaders will end up in jail," Kejriwal said to his cheering supporters at the offices of his Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party).

At issue was the Jan Lokpal Bill, a controversial piece of legislation that would create an independent body to investigate allegations of corruption directed at politicians and bureaucrats. Lawmakers from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress said they supported the measure, but couldn't bring it for a vote because it doesn't have the approval of the federal government.

Under the law, Delhi's state government can only enact laws with financial implications after approval from India's Home Ministry.

"They tell lie that we are not following Constitution. They want to do corruption. Both BJP and Congress have joined hands," Kejriwal said. "We say eradicate corruption. They say it is unconstitutional."

NPR's Julie McCarthy reported on Kejriwal's rise, as well as the protests he held even after becoming chief minister.

(And in case you're wondering, there is a distinction between Delhi and New Delhi: New Delhi is the capital of India, while Delhi, for the purposes of administration, is the area of which New Delhi is a part.)

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