Delhi dharna politics: Arvind Kejriwal makes fresh appeal to PM; fasting ministers fear forced evacuation from L-G office

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ministers including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who are staging a fast protest agains the IAS officers' strike at the lieutenant-governor's office in Delhi warned the Central government on Friday to not try and break their fast. "Do not force us to break our fast, listen to our demands," Sisodia said on the third day of his fast. While another AAP minister Satyendra Kumar Jain has been on a fast for the past four days now and is health was reported to be detrioting following which ambulances were called in outside the L-G's residence.

However, AAP has alleged that the Narendra Modi government is trying to forcefully remove them from the L-G'office. "L-G office does not want to take responsibility of deteriorating health of AAP ministers," AAP leader Sanjay Singh said who later met Home Minister Rajnath Singh to brief him on the Delhi government's demands.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday wrote a fresh letter to Modi, seeking his intervention to end the IAS officers' "strike" even as he hit out at his detractors, saying the sit-in was "not for personal gains" but for the greater good of the people of Delhi.

Kejriwal, in a video message on the fifth day of the sit-in, he and his ministers are holding at the L-G's office in New Delhi, also attacked the BJP, alleging the bureaucrats' strike was to "throw roadblocks" in the working of the AAP government. "I have told the L-G and Sisodia wrote a letter to him (Anil Baijal) on Thursday and even sent a message on WhatsApp. But, no response from his side. We got no response to the letter I wrote to the prime minister. So, today again I wrote to the prime minister," he said.

Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers at the L-G office in Delhi. Image courtesy: Twitter- @ArvindKejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers at the L-G office in Delhi. Image courtesy: Twitter-
@ArvindKejriwal

The latest letter by Kejriwal was in response to an invite to attend a meeting of NITI Aayog on Sunday. "I have asked the prime minister, if in his meetings officers don't show up, will he be able to run the government for a day? Then why have you allowed the strike of officers in Delhi. It is not good to bother people of Delhi," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal had on Thursday written to Modi, seeking his intervention to end the strike, claiming that Baijal was doing "nothing" to end the impasse. A team of doctors on Thursday conducted a health check-up of Sisodia and Jain at the L-G's office.

Kejriwal said in his fresh letter to Modi, he has reiterated the demands. The AAP government has sought that the L-G direct the IAS officers to end their "strike" and act against those who have struck work. They also want the L-G to approve the proposal for doorstep delivery of ration. "I have again asked him (PM) to do something. It is not alright to have this strike be allowed. So, on Sunday, will go to the prime minister's residence, lots of people of Delhi will go to his residence and appeal to him to have the strike cancelled," he said. Kejriwal hoped that the prime minister will ensure that the "strike" ends.

"If not, then after Sunday we will be going to every household. Our workers will reach out to 10 lakh households in the city and collect signatures on a letter on this obstruction to Delhi government work and on the issue of full statehood to Delhi. These 10 lakh families will then agitate for full statehood and against this strike of IAS officers," he claimed.

The AAP convenor, in his video appeal, also asked if there was one person who would say that the strike by officers was legitimate. "After meeting him on Monday evening, I had hoped that the L-G would say he had ordered end of the strike and ask us to go back home. I am surprised that it is the fifth day and he (Baijal) is not willing to end it," Kejriwal alleged.

Meanwhile, Baijal met Rajnath on Friday over the standoff that has brought the Capital’s administration to a standstill. Baijal briefed the Union minister about the protest and also on ongoing police investigation into an alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash in February 2018. Baijal also informed the minister about his communication with the bureaucrats on the issue,” a ministry official told The Hindustan Times.

However, The IAS Officers’ Association denied they were on strike and released photographs that showed them working inside the Secretariat.

Congress leader Ajay Maken too slammed Kejriwal for demanding full statehood and deviating attention from real issues plahuing Delhi. "Delhi government is demanding full statehood when he knows that Delhi cannot be granted the full statehood status. Kejriwal needs to focus on issues that concern his people right now. We also worked with the BJP government at the Centre while we were in power in Delhi," Maken told CNN-News18.

But Kejriwal has found support from opposition leaders such as Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Yadav, Brinda Karat, Kamal Hassan and Shatrugan Sinha, who have all tweeted in favour of his protest.

The Delhi Government Employees Association also announced that they would begin a protest in front of Prakash’s office from Friday, demanding the restructuring of DASS (Delhi administrative subordinate services) and steno cadres of the government.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s BJP leaders have started a similar sit-in protest outside the chief minister’s office. Party leaders Vijender Gupta, Parvesh Verma, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Jagdish Pradhan along with former Aam Aadmi Party leader Kapil Mishra protested in a waiting room outside the chief minister's office. They put up banners inside and outside the building against Kejriwal for “going on leave” at a time when Delhi is grappling with severe air pollution, the Hindustan Times reported said.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Jun 15, 2018 16:10 PM

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