New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal continued his protest at Raj Niwas for the eighth day on Monday while his deputy Manish Sisodia was moved to a hospital as IAS officers, accused of non-cooperation, offered to talk to Kejriwal.
Sisodia, on hunger strike since 13 June, was taken to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital after his ketone level reached 7.4, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sources said.
The Shiv Sena and Janata Dal-United, both BJP allies, came out in support of Kejriwal. The Samajwadi Party backed the AAP against the central government. But Congress president Rahul Gandhi slammed both Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the stalemate.
The AAP plans to start a campaign from Tuesday to reach out to at least 10 lakh households in Delhi.
Kejriwal and three of his ministers — Sisodia, Satyendra Jain and Gopal Rai — begun their unprecedented strike at Raj Niwas on 11 June demanding a direction to the IAS officers working in the Delhi administration to end their undeclared strike and urging the Centre to approve the Delhi government's proposal to deliver ration to the poor at their houses.
Jain, who was also on indefinite hunger strike since 12 June, was moved to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital on Sunday night. This has left Kejriwal and Rai at the office-cum-residence of Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal.
Meanwhile, in the first sign of apparent rapprochement, IAS officers in Delhi on Monday said they were open to formal discussions to end the impasse in Delhi, a day after Kejriwal assured them their safety and dignity.
The IAS AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) Association said the officers looked forward to concrete interventions for their security and dignity.
"The officers... welcome chief minister's appeal. We reiterate that we continue to be at work with full dedication and vigour. We look forward to concrete interventions for our security and dignity. We are open to formal discussions with the chief minister," the Association tweeted.
In response, Sisodia tweeted from his hospital bed: "That's precisely why we have been sitting at Raj Niwas for so many days requesting the LG to call all stakeholders and end this impasse.
"The LG is head of both 'services' and 'security'. So, the meeting should take place in his presence so that assurances related to those subjects could be given," Sisodia said.
On Sunday, Kejriwal said: "I wish to assure them that I will ensure their safety and security with all my powers and resources available at my command. I have given similar assurances earlier also to many officers who have been meeting me privately. I reiterate it."
The protest had evoked sympathy for Kejriwal from the chief ministers of Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as well as leaders of the CPI, CPI-M, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, RJD and the Samajwadi Party.
Samajwadi Party leader and MP Ram Gopal Yadav, who went to meet Jain and Sisodia in hospital on Monday, said it was "unfortunate" that a government working for the welfare of Delhi was obstructed by the Lieutenant-Governor.
"In democratic history, it is unheard of that IAS officers go on a strike. It is my appeal to the prime minister and the Lieutenant-Governor that they talk about this issue," he said.
The Shiv Sena, which along with the BJP rules Maharashtra, came out in support of Kejriwal, a day after the Delhi chief minister spoke to party chief Uddhav Thackeray.
But Rahul Gandhi hit out at Kejriwal and the BJP for their protests leading to a stalemate in the city while accusing prime minister Narendra Modi of ignoring the crisis.
"Delhi CM, sitting in Dharna at L-G office. BJP sitting in Dharna at CM residence. Delhi bureaucrats addressing press conferences. PM turns a blind eye to the anarchy; rather nudges chaos and disorder.
"People of Delhi are the victims, as this drama plays out," he said in a series of tweets.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday continued its counter-protest against Kejriwal's stir.
Updated Date: Jun 18, 2018 21:40 PM