News / Asia

Indian Anti-Corruption Party Targets Ministers

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, chief of the Aam Aadmi Party, speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence on the outskirts of New Delhi, Jan. 27, 2014.
Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, chief of the Aam Aadmi Party, speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence on the outskirts of New Delhi, Jan. 27, 2014.
Reuters
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday named a string of high-ranking Indian politicians he described as corrupt and said his anti-graft Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would target them in an upcoming general election.

Kejriwal, whose year-old party swept to power in Delhi in local elections in December, is working on a national campaign that is likely to split votes for the governing Congress party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Friday, he read from a sheet of paper the names of more than two dozen powerful politicians from across the political spectrum and said his party would field strong candidates against them in the polls due by May.

“Suresh Kalmadi. Should we defeat him or not?” Kejriwal asked a meeting of party leaders to cheers.

Kalmadi was arrested in April 2011 on charges of inflating tenders for equipment used at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which he headed, and served nine months in prison.

All the politicians Kejriwal has accused have denied any charges of corruption. Cases take years, if not decades, to wind through India's notoriously slow judicial system.

The AAP's success in Delhi has led to huge interest in Kejriwal and the party up and down India, where voters seem to be thirsty for change after 10 years of scandal-prone rule by a Congress party-led coalition.

The AAP has only recently begun operating outside the capital and its strength is untested.

Kejriwal's party will contest at least 350 seats of the 543 lower house of parliament seats, senior party member Sanjay Singh said at a news conference on Thursday.

Attacks

An opinion poll conducted early this month suggested the party may only pick up a dozen seats. Its main support is in Delhi and surrounding states such as Haryana and Punjab, polls shows.

Kejriwal on Friday named cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and Oil Minister Veerappa Moily.

“If we don't defeat Veerappa Moily, then from April 1 gas and electricity prices will double,” said Kejriwal, who has offered free water and slashed power prices in Delhi since coming to office.

He also attacked the BJP leader Narendra Modi, who polls show is voters' favorite candidate for prime minister.

Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty who is leading the Congress party in the campaign, was also cited as an election target although he is not embroiled in any scandal.

Politics in India, the world's largest democracy, has been plagued by corruption and other problems. About 30 percent of lawmakers across the federal and state legislatures face criminal charges, many for serious crimes such as rape, murder and kidnapping.

Many questions focus on the source of funding for political campaigns. More than 90 percent of funding for the Congress and the BJP comes from unknown sources, according to the advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms.

But corruption has rarely been an election issue until now. Scandals have come thick and fast on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's watch in the last few years and Kejriwal's party has quickly tapped into the public disgust over sleaze.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs