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Kejriwal admits making a mistake by resigning the Delhi CM office, blames public for not understanding

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VARANASI: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said he committed a “mistake” of not consulting people before resigning as chief minister of Delhi.”I think we made a mistake on (the issue of) resignation. Resignation in principle was (however) right,” Kejriwal told NDTV here.

Kejriwal and his cabinet quit on February 14 after failing to pass the Jan Lokpal bill in the Delhi assembly because of opposition from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“We should have consulted people before resigning the way we did before forming the government, which we didn’t do,” he added. “It was a communication problem.”

Kejriwal, who was chief minister for 49 days, agreed that the decision did not go down well with the people.

“People could not absorb it. I should have interacted with people the way I did in (the) 10 days during campaigning in Delhi … I should have gone among (the) people.”

But he insisted that he made a “sacrifice” by resigning as chief minister.

“I could have also stuck to the chief minister’s post as others do but my conscience did not allow (me to do so).

“We thought we had done a big sacrifice, and the public would praise us. But the public couldn’t understand the logic.”

Kejriwal led the AAP to a spectacular showing in the Delhi assembly election in December, winning 28 of the 70 seats. The BJP came on top with 31 seats and the Congress was routed with just eight seats.

The AAP went on to form a minority government with Congress backing after conducting a referendum among voters on whether or not it should take Congress support to take power.

But when he decided to quit, Kejriwal took a unilateral decision.

 

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Mamta Banerjee: Take action if Madan Mitra is guilty, but why no bail

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Mamta Banerjee - Take action if Madan Mitra is guilty, but why no bail

Kolkata: Standing by her party colleague Madan Mitra, now languishing behind bars for his alleged involvement in the multi-billion rupee Saradha ponzi scam, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said while action should be taken if he was guilty, she could not understand why he was not being granted bail despite being in jail for over a year.

“Let them file a charge sheet, prove it. Let them take action if he is guilty, party will not take responsibility.

“He has been kept under arrest for 15 months. I don’t understand. Even thieves and dacoits get bails, murderers also. If Madan has committed any wrong, take action as per the law. Who is preventing you?” Banerjee said in an interview to a private television channel 24 Ghanta.

The Trinamool Congress supremo’s comemnts came on a day her party renomated Mitra, a former state minister, as one of its candidates in the coming assembly polls. Mitra has been in jail since December, 2014, except for a few days last November.

Banerjee virtually found fault with the Central Bureau of investigation’s claim that he had regularly attended programmes organised by the Saradha group.

“His only mistake is he attended some programmes. But he went there because he was invited. We get so many invites. So many people click my photos on their mobiles, when I am on the streets, or even travelling by air? I don’t know any of them. If some of them are bad, what can I do?” she said.

Asked about Bharatiya Janata Party national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh’s slogan “Bhag Mamata Bhag” in 2014 in relation to the Saradha scam,, Banerjee said: “I feel sad and angry. This is a big insult, humiliation for me. If I get a chance I will get my revenge one day, in the sense that truth will prevail”.

Terming the entire Saradha scam probe launched by the CBI as a “total conspiracy”, Banerjee said one day it would be proved that the allegations raised against her and her party were baseless.

“I believe in God. Those who are actual culprits, will be punished in the long run. So far no action has been taken against the actual culrprits,” she said.

Banerjee said she could not accept the way her party has been defamed bcause her opponents were unable to fight her politically.

“But I tell you, till the last moment of my life, I want justice.”

(IANS)

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INDIAN-ORIGIN ‘SWAMI’ GOKULA NANDA ARRAIGNED ON SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES IN US

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Indian-origin ‘swami’ arraigned on sexual assault charges in US

According to Deputy District Attorney Maren Dermody, 62-year-old Gokula Nanda of West Hills was ordered to stand trial for six counts of sexual battery by fraud, three counts of sexual penetration by foreign object and two counts of sexual battery.

New York: An Indian-origin businessman claiming to be a Hindu monk has pleaded not guilty after standing trial on charges that he sexually assaulted three women in the US, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

According to Deputy District Attorney Maren Dermody, 62-year-old Gokula Nanda of West Hills was ordered to stand trial for six counts of sexual battery by fraud, three counts of sexual penetration by foreign object and two counts of sexual battery.

Nanda is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on February 29 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Torrance Branch.

“Nanda sexually abused the victims while claiming to be performing healing rituals at various locations, including his Eastern medicine store in Santa Clarita and a park in Torrance, between April 2011 and April 2015, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing,” said a statement from the District Attorney’s Office on Friday.

According to media reports, Nanda, owner of Hari-Om India Market in Santa Clarita in California, was arrested on May 13 last year following allegations that he sexually assaulted female clients at meditative sessions.

He was released in July on a 100,000 dollar bail pending further court proceedings.

Nanda faces a possible maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison if convicted as charged.

The case remains under investigation by the Torrance Police Department.

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Amit Shah re-elected as BJP president for next three years

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Amit Shah re-elected as BJP president for next three years

New Delhi: Amit Shah, a close confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was on Sunday elected the BJP president for a full three-year term, retaining the post he has held since the party took power in the country in 2014.

Shah, 51, who took charge of the party in August 2014 from now Home Minister Rajnath Singh, was elected unanimously at a glittering event at the BJP headquarters attended by virtually all senior party leaders.

As Bharatiya Janata Party leader Avinash Rai Khanna made the announcement that Shah has got the top post again, the packed hall erupted with joy, with young men repeatedly blowing conch shells and others raining flower petals on him.

Hundreds of party activists cheered Shah and raised slogans hailing him and the BJP. Many garlanded or presented bouquets to Shah, who is seen as the most powerful man in the party after Modi.

Modi was not present as he had to go to Chandigarh to meet French President Francois Hollande.

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But he congratulated Shah and said he was confident the BJP “will scale newer heights under his leadership”.

“Amit bhai combines grassroots-level work and rich organisational experience which will benefit the party immensely,” said Modi, who is said to count Shah as one of his most trusted aides.

Shah took hold of the BJP’s reins from Rajnath Singh after the latter became the home minister in the Modi cabinet. There was no election then.

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Rajnath Singh said: “He (Shah) has been an extremely successful party president. I am confident the BJP will continue its forward march under Shah’s stewardship and reach newer heights of success and glory.”

Another former BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, said: “He is the most capable person. He has organisational ability, is a good strategist and is committed to (our) ideology.”

Besides Modi, the two other notable absentees from the event were former party presidents L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, who are known to be unhappy with Shah’s style of functioning.

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Shah, who did not address the gathering or speak to the media, leaves on Monday to address a public meeting in Howrah in West Bengal, where the BJP will face a stiff challenge in its bid for power this year.

The Congress was sarcastic. After pointing out the absence of Advani and Joshi from the event, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said: “Congratulations on his election, and congratulations on his future defeats.”

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A science graduate, Shah — the son of a businessman — rose to fame when he, as the party in-charge in Uttar Pradesh, led the BJP to a grand victory in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha battle where it won 71 of the 80 seats. An ally won two more seats.

It was the general election where he and Modi combined to lead the party to a spectacular victory, ending 10 long years of Congress rule.

Shah moved towards the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in Gujarat in his young days, and later took to student politics.

He met Modi in 1982, and the two have remained close since then.

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He joined the BJP in 1986 — a year before Modi did. A four-time legislator in Gujarat, Shah was a home minister in the state when he was embroiled in a fake encounter case.

He was one of those who helped the BJP grow and grow in Gujarat, reducing the Congress to a pale shadow of its original self.

But his reputation as a strategic organiser took a beating when the Aam Aadmi Party routed the BJP in the Delhi assembly election in February last year — the first popularity test after the Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP was again defeated in the Bihar assembly election in November 2015. It was the Bihar defeat that triggered a revolt by some BJP veterans including Advani and Joshi against Shah’s working style.

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