Is Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal going to end his five-day-long sit-in protest at Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal's office-cum-residence? Though no confirmation has been issued yet in this regard, signs suggest that it might be the case as Kejriwal announced on Friday a new movement to demand full statehood for Delhi, in a video message sent from the L-G's office.
This new move is seen as an attempt to divert people's attention from the ongoing sit-in protest – carried out by him along with his three Cabinet colleagues – which seems to be on the verge of failure given the L-G has paid no heed to their demands.
Announcing the new movement, Kejriwal said in his video message: "We will go home-to-home to collect 10 lakh signatures in a petition, demanding full statehood for Delhi and submit the petition to the prime minister."
He also announced that before the signature collection campaign, a good number of people would go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence demanding his direction to call off the four-month-long 'strike' by IAS officers in Delhi.
राज निवास से दिल्ली वासियों के नाम मेरा संदेश।
हम सभी दिल्ली वासियों को अपने हक़ और सम्मान के लिए संघर्ष करना होगा।
ये विडीओ ज़रूर देखें और ज़्यादा से ज़्यादा share करें। https://t.co/sK8MsuEgMK
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 15, 2018
"Day after tomorrow, we will go to the prime minister's home along with a big number of people to request him to direct the IAS officers to end their strike... and we will tell them it is wrong to harass the people of Delhi like this. We hope that after this, he will agree to our demand," Kejriwal said in the video.
He also said that if the prime minister does not fulfil the demand, then the signature campaign demanding full statehood would be kicked off. "The signature campaign would be like the one which was launched to decrease electricity bills," he reminded.
Significantly, before the 2015 Assembly election in Delhi, the AAP had launched s signature campaign to decrease electricity bills in Delhi, which had captured the imagination of voters. Kejriwal has been continuing his 'activism-styled' brand of politics to corner the BJP, even after he became the chief minister but without much success. The sit-in protest at the L-G's house is also seen as another tactic with the same motive.
But, this time as well, success has eluded him as neither the Centre nor the L-G is paying any attention to his protest. Kejriwal's desperation was evident in the video message as he was heard saying: "For the last few days, we are sitting in the L-G's office demanding his direction to the IAS officers to end their strike and to pass the proposed scheme of door-to-door delivery of ration. We thought that he will agree to our demands within few hours,"
"But I am surprised to see that today is the fifth day and the L-G is not ready to issue the directions to the IAS officers. Manish Sisodiya has written to the L-G asking him about what happened to our demand. But he did not reply," he added. "Show me one person in the world who will agree that the four-month-long strike of the IAS officers is justified," he said.
He also said that he has sent two letters to the prime minister but has received no reply. "I have asked the prime minister that if IAS officers stop coming to his meetings, can he run the government for even for a day?" he said in the video.
He also accused Modi of masterminding the strike of the IAS officer in a bid to defunct the AAP-led Delhi government. According to him, the AAP-led government in Delhi has set the standards of achievements so high that the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat are finding it difficult to match them and hence the prime minister is conspiring to paralyse the Delhi government.
"They now have to answer the question raised by the people as to if a three-year-old Delhi government can provide electricity at the cheapest rate, provide free medicines, diagnostic tests and treatment in its hospitals and mohalla clinics, and bring in revolutionary change in the education sector, why can't the 30-year-old BJP government in Gujarat, 15-year-old BJP government in Madhya Pradesh and 10-year-old BJP government in Chhattisgarh do the same?" he said.
He also slammed the media for taking a slide on him as he 'chose the comforts of the air-conditioned office of the L-G' as his venue of protest, this time around.
"We have air conditioners in our home too. If we had to sit in air-conditioned rooms... we could have done that in our homes as well. We are here for the people in Delhi. Media persons should remember that Delhi belongs to them also and apply caution while commenting," he said.
The AAP-led government in Delhi and the IAS officers working in the state dispensation had a major face-off in the month of February after Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash alleged that he was physically assaulted by AAP MLAs.
The AAP has been claiming that the IAS officers are on strike since the incident, but the officers have denied saying that no such strike is on in Delhi.
Kejriwal, Health Minister Satyendra Jain, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodiya and Labour Minister Gopal Rai have been on a sit-in protest at the L-G House since Monday. Jain and Sisodiya, meanwhile, are into their fourth and third day of indefinite fast respectively.
Updated Date: Jun 15, 2018 17:26 PM