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Kejriwal apologizes for quitting, seeks fresh election

Kejriwal apologizes for quitting, seeks fresh election

New Delhi: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday apologized to the people for resigning as the Delhi chief minister in February and sought a fresh election.

Kejriwal made the statement here a day after he told Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung not to dissolve the house so that he could explore the possibility of again forming a minority government.

"The chances of forming a government in Delhi are almost negligible. In such a situation, holding discussions does not make sense," he said, looking pensive.

"We have decided that we will prepare for elections (in Delhi)."

"We made a mistake, and I apologize for it," said Kejriwal, referring to his Feb 14 resignation after a 49-day stint following his failure to get the Jan Lokpal bill passed.

On Tuesday, Kejriwal met Jung and asked him not to dissolve the Delhi assembly for a week.

In a letter to Jung, he said AAP wanted to hold public meetings across Delhi to obtain people's views on government formation.

After the December 2013 election produced a hung assembly, the Congress, with eight legislators in the 70-seat house, extended support to the 28-member AAP to form a minority government.

Two independents also backed the AAP, which had fought its first election after its birth the previous year.

But the AAP government -- later short of one party member -- was shortlived. Kejriwal abruptly resigned Feb 14 after the Congress, BJP and all others refused to let the Jan Lokpal bill pass in the house.

Since then, Delhi has been under President's Rule but the assembly was not dissolved. The AAP demanded fresh elections in Delhi.

The situation changed after the BJP won all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi this month.

After the Congress was pushed to a distant third in all seven Lok Sabha seats, a section of its legislators sent feelers that they were willing to again back an AAP government.

Initially, the AAP leadership refused the offer. But there was pressure from a section of its own legislators to explore the possibility of government formation.

Kejriwal said Wednesday that the people of Delhi wanted him to again form a government.

"Since the Lok Sabha election ended, I have been going around Delhi and people have said that we made a mistake (by resigning) and that we should not repeat the mistake.

"They (public) asked us to form a government... Otherwise, they said, they will not forgive us," he added.

Kejriwal vowed to continue his meetings with the people of Delhi.

"We will apologize to the people and (seek) a majority in the house so that we can form a government for the next five years," he said. "We will form a corruption free government."

Kejriwal's presser followed a meeting he had with party legislators at his residence.

The Congress said it won't prop up an AAP government "at any cost".

Its general secretary Shakeel Ahmed told IANS: "The AAP is exposed now. Kejriwal is a hypocrite of the highest degree.

"On the one hand you chase us for our support and then tell people that you want fresh elections," he said.

BJP leader Harsh Vardhan, a member of the Delhi assembly who has now been elected to the Lok Sabha, said his party wanted fresh polls.

"We are ready for elections in Delhi and have been saying this since December when the results (of the hung assembly) were declared," Harsh Vardhan told IANS.

"We are not bothered by what the AAP or Congress is up to. A fresh election is the only option."


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