New Delhi, Jun 12: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and three of his cabinet colleagues spent Monday night at Raj Niwas demanding Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal to ask protesting bureaucrats to end their strike. Kejriwal along with Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other cabinet colleagues Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai met Baijal on Monday and refused to leave his official residence till their three demands were accepted.
Tweets showed Arvind Kejriwal and the three Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ministers stretched out of sofas in Anil Baijal’s waiting room as party leaders and supporters camped outside. “LG refuses to take action. LG is under constitutional duty to act. Left with no option, we have politely told the LG that we will not leave till he acts on all points. We have come out of his chamber and sitting in his waiting room,” Kejriwal tweeted from the waiting room of the Raj Niwas.
Kejriwal wanted Baijal to issue a direction to IAS officers to end their “strike” and also sought action against the officers, who have struck work for “four months”. He was also demanding approval to the proposal for doorstep delivery of ration. Sisodia said that he met and wrote to the L-G five times about the strike but he did “nothing” to end it “How can elected govt work, if Hon LG supports IAS officers strike like this,” he tweeted from Raj Niwas.
Calling it an “unprecedented move”, the LG’s office said the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, along with two ministers, “remained defiant and continued to pressurise that the officers must be immediately summoned to Raj Niwas and the so-called ‘agitation’ of officers be called off, and sought that immediate approval to proposal for doorstep delivery of rations be given”.
The LG said he had already spoken to officers in this regard and the “insistence to summon them is not desirable”. “Since the Chief Minister and Ministers refused to listen to this suggestion and as the LG had pre-scheduled appointments at his residence, he had no option but to leave the office,” a statement from the Raj Niwas said, terming the protest as a “dharna without reason”.
“In the meeting, the LG was threatened by Kejriwal, who demanded that the officers should be immediately summoned at Raj Niwas and directions should be given to end the so-called ‘strike’. In response, it was reiterated by the LG that there is no strike by the employees of GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi),” the statement read.
Baijal said that during his continued interactions with the officers, “it has been informed that the atmosphere of mistrust and fear continues and no sincere attempts to resolve the differences have been made so far”. The LG also advised Kejriwal to build the confidence of the employees at all levels and to work out ways of addressing their genuine concerns, according to the statement.
On the issue of the file on doorstep delivery of rations, the LG informed Kejriwal that it was lying with the Minister for Civil Supplies for nearly three months. “Hence, it will only be appropriate to expedite the matter of taking up the proposal with the Government of India at the earliest as pointed out by the Law Department, GNCTD, that such a scheme requires prior approval of the Central government under the National Food Security Act, 2013,” the statement said.
The AAP government and the bureaucracy have been at loggerheads since the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs at Kejriwal’s residence on the intervening night of February 19-20. Earlier on Monday, Kejriwal accused the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Centre of “unleashing” the Lieutenant Governor, IAS officials and agencies such as the CBI, ED, I-T Department and the Delhi Police on the AAP government to stall its functioning.