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Delhi CM says sorry as storm breaks

Sheila offers an unconditional apology following the furore over her remark on influx of migrants from Bihar and UP.
None | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 11, 2007 05:07 AM IST

As Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s remark on continuous influx of migrants from Bihar and UP putting a severe strain on Delhi’s infrastructure snowballed into a major controversy, she called a press conference and offered an unconditional apology, saying she never intended to hurt the sentiments of any section.

“Every year, thousands of people come from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states, and more power, water, roads, etc. are needed for them,” she had said during a foundation-laying ceremony on Wednesday.

Dikshit’s remarks angered parliamentarians, forcing Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to adjourn proceedings on Thursday. Many MPs stormed into the well of the house, demanding her resignation.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad said he was aghast at Dikshit’s comments. Delhi, like any other city, belonged to all the people of the country and it would be wrong to attribute its woes entirely to migrants from Bihar and UP, he said. Though there was no justification for such a comment, he felt once she had apologised, the controversy must be put to an end.

The CPI also reacted sharply and its leader Gurudas Das Gupta said, “The remark was shameful.” He added people from UP and Bihar migrated to the Capital in search of a better life as there was little or no development in their states.

“I have no intention of hurting the sentiments of anybody. I am fully aware of the contributions made by people coming from outside, especially from UP and Bihar,” Dikshit read from a statement during the press conference.

Meanwhile, protesters gathered at Jantar Mantar, Uttam Nagar and Karkardooma and burnt her effigy. They raised slogans against Dikshit and demanded her resignation.

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