AAP Leaders summon Law Minister Somnath Bharti

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 23, 2014 14:54 hrs

Pressure is mounting on Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti to quit as not just opposition leaders, but even his colleagues in the Aam Aadmi Party are now questioning his verbal abuse of Opposition leaders and the midnight raid in the Khirki Extension area in a bid to unearth prostitution and drugs racket. Bharti's position became more shaky after he was named by a Ugandan woman as the leader of the group that manhandled them in Khirki during the raid.

"Yes, Mr Bharti's comments about Arun Jaitley and Harish Salve were totally uncalled for. And a greater person is only who realises that he has committed a fault.

Nobody is perfect and all of us do commit wrong, with or without intention. One is a greater man if he apologises for something he shouldn't have said. I do not expect the Congress and the BJP to do that, but I do expect it from my party and people," said AAP leader Rahul Mehra.

A number of AAP leaders are said to be upset with Bharti who had earlier stoked controversies by seeking a meeting of Delhi judges and was involved in talking to a witness he was cross examining as a lawyer.

Delhi BJP's district units will stage a sit-in on January 24 to press for the resignation of Bharti from the state Cabinet for being the biggest "law breaker" and to protest "anti-women, and anti-common" people alliance of AAP and Congress. "The AAP has become an anti-women, anti- development and anti-common man party. Its 'aam' leaders have now become 'khaas' leaders. We condemn Somnath Bharti's behaviour towards the Ugandan woman and demand his removal," BJP state chief Vijay Goel said.

However, the AAP top leadership continues to stand by its minister. Party leader Gopal Rai defended Bharti saying, "We think there is lobbying going on for sex and drug rackets."

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal will meet the Lieutenant Governor on Thursday and it remains to be seen whether discussions on Somnath Bharti will take place.

In another startling allegation National Commission for Women Chairperson Mamta Sharma on Wednesday said the SHO cannot summon Bharti as he was being threatened by Aam Aadmi Party supporters. Mamta demanded Bharti's resignation after Ugandan woman complained of misbehaviour by the minister and his supporters. Mamta said, "Somnath Bharti should resign. Arvind Kejriwal should demand his resignation."

She added, "Delhi Commission for Women has taken up the case now. He has been summoned and I'm not aware if he went or not. State Commission will submit its report and we will take the matter up." Even after the Ugandan woman identified Bharti and accused him of misbehaviour with the girls, the Kejriwal government is unlikely to take any immediate action. Sources said, "AAP may not to take any immediate action against Somnath Bharti as they think the case is prejudiced. The party will present its defence to the court. Bharti has given his side of the story to the party."

All India Progressive Women's Association Secretary Kavita Krishnan said, "We told the Chief Minister that we are terribly disturbed by racial profiling and branding women as prostitutes. He has been very hostile to women. In this specific incident of Khirki extension that the SHO of Malviya Nagar Police Station has behaved responsibly."

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi said action should be taken against Bharti. "Strict action should be taken against Somnath Bharti. Not only did he make derogatory statements, but the foreign women have also identified him. Hence any action that would have been taken against any other citizen should be taken against Somnath Bharti as well."

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