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May 29, 2017

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Delhi corruption-slayer stumbles after criticism from pavement protest

NEW DELHI -- Delhi's "anarchist" chief minister Arvind Kejriwal faced savage press criticism Wednesday after a two-day protest in the capital that could check the dizzying rise of India's new political star.

The 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner, who took office less than a month ago amid a wave of support for his ideals, called for mass demonstrations on Monday to press for police reform.

After two days and a night sleeping rough on a pavement in the center of the capital, he called off the agitation late Tuesday with few of his demands heeded and his credibility shaken.

"It seems Kejriwal, who branded himself an anarchist, is unable to transform himself from rabble-rouser to a responsible chief minister," the Hindustan Times said in an editorial Wednesday.

Kejriwal formed his Aam Aadmi (common man) Party just over a year ago, and it made sensational gains in Delhi's state election in December with its no-tolerance approach to endemic corruption.

Its core support came from the poor and the educated middle-class who saw an alternative to India's graft-tainted Congress party, in power nationally, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

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