The self-proclaimed “anarchist” is back in action in the national capital. The only difference this time around is that he is not sweating it out in the sun or shivering in the cold but is enjoying the comfort of the waiting room of the Delhi lieutenant governor's office.
On Monday evening, Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal, along with three of his most trusted ministerial colleagues — Manish Sisodia, Satyendra Jain and Gopal Rai — occupied the visitor’s waiting room of Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi Anil Baijal's home and let the world know through Twitter that he had found a new way to take a break from his official work and stage a sit-in protest. His tweets and re-tweets fired at regular intervals suggested that he was enjoying his newly-minted style of protest or self-imposed confinement – lying on a sofa in an air-conditioned room, or relaxing on a couch with both feet up on the table.
Kejriwal happily shared tweets of his party workers complimenting his undying spirit, juxtaposing photographs of dharnas from yesteryears and ones from Monday evening. He has been getting the food of his choice but has not asked for fresh clothes yet, an insider said. Three of the leaders protesting did not skip their meals, but Delhi heath minister Satyendra Jain began an indefinite fast to make the L-G yield to their demands.
However, in their Twitter game, Kejriwal and Sisodia found more than a match in their former friend and rebel party colleague Kumar Vishwas’s stinging satirical tweet. It should be noted that Vishwas still has many followers in the Aam Aadmi Party. They may not be in important positions, but they fill the ranks of the mass of party volunteers.
तुम सब पहले “पकौड़ा-शिकंजी-आंदोलन” जो भी बनाते थे वो तो पता नहीं, पर अब तुम सब मिलकर इस देश के भोले-भाले लोगों का क्या “बना” रहे हो ये साफ़-साफ़ पता चलता है
वक़्त के जूते से डरो “नौटंकी-नरेशों” छल-प्रपंच-सपनों की हत्या से जुगाड़ा ये राजमुकुट तुम्हारी ही तरह किसी का सगा नहीं😡👎🏿
— Dr Kumar Vishvas (@DrKumarVishwas) June 12, 2018
The last time Kejriwal staged a rather infamous dharna — in 2014 before Republic Day celebrations at Rail Bhawan near Delhi's Vijay Chowk — he had demanded the removal of a few station house officers and assistant commissioners of police. It was here that he had proclaimed: “Yes, I am an anarchist. Yes, I create chaos.” Despite being newly elected then, he had made other famous statements, even questioning the need to celebrate Republic Day. Kejriwal had said he had come prepared to stage a protest for at least 10 days.
On Monday, the Delhi chief minister had sought an appointment with L-G Baijal when he had gone to meet him with three of his ministers. They had demanded that all serving IAS officers be immediately summoned and ordered to end their three-month strike by invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act. They also want “action against the guilty” officials.
In reality, there is no strike as all. The officers have been coming to office. However, since AAP MLAs allegedly assaulted Chief Secretary of Delhi Anshu Prakash in the chief minister’s house in Kejriwal and Sisodia's presence, IAS officers of all ranks decided not to be at the beck and call of ministers and also not to meet ministers alone in their chambers.
Kejriwal and company have threatened that they will not end the protest or leave their self-imposed confinement at the L-G's house till their demands are met. One need not be an astrologer to predict that this stalemate may not end anytime soon.
When all else fails, blame Modi
Meanwhile, the chief minister and his core team are back at doing what they do best — blaming everything on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After a lull of a few months — after he suffered losses in the Punjab polls and the Delhi by-elections, as well as Kapil Mishra's revolt when he had stopped holding Modi responsible for anything unfavourable — Kejriwal is now back to targeting Modi. He endorsed his trusted colleague Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh's statement that “the L-G was a mere puppet, playing at the whims of mastermind Modi”.
It is true that the Delhi administration came to a standstill on 11 April when the chief secretary was allegedly assaulted. The Kejriwal government has made no sincere attempt to address the concerns of the officials. Instead, AAP leaders have made several counter allegations against the aggrieved officials.
It is interesting to note that Kejriwal returned to his blame game and agitation politics after he was done with his daily mafinama (apologies) to various leaders, including Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, Congress leader Kapil Sibal's son Amit Sibal as well as the Delhi Police for his "thulla" remark. The list could go on, but he really went back to his old game after Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley accepted his apology and decided to drop his civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal.
Now, with Kejriwal in confinement at the L-G’s house, other AAP leaders and workers, including MLAs and Delhi ministers, have been asked to assemble at the chief minister's official home to show solidarity with their protest and be on alert. They cannot join the four at the L-G's house because the area has been barricaded.
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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2018 17:09:03 IST