New Delhi, June 17: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and workers would lead a massive protest march to the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday to protest against the lack of response by Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal and the Centre to the sit-in by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers at Raj Niwas (Lt Governor’s office). AAP workers, leaders and the common people will assemble at Mandi House at 4 PM today and march to the PMO under the party banner to support Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers’ sit-in for the last six days.
Speaking to reporters about the march, Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Pankaj Gupta said,”Delhi is all set to launch a mass protest like the one we did which changed its political picture. We have tried all we can, but they are not ready to listen.” He also accused the Modi government of ‘shamelessly’ misusing its powers and institutions to stop Delhi government from working for the people. People are going to protest in favour of the Delhi government which has provided them with free water, low cost electricity and good education system, Gupta claimed.
The protest march came on a day when PM Narendra Modi is expected to chair the fourth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog at Rashtrapati Bhawan. The day-long meeting will be attended by Union Ministers, Chief Ministers from the States, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories and senior officials from the Government of India.
Support From Opposition
Earlier on Saturday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan extended their support to Kejriwal and urged PM Modi to intervene and solve the matter. “We will tell the PM to intervene in this matter and solve it. Had the President been here, we would have told him too. This is a democracy and that is how a democracy functions,” Banerjee had said, while addressing a press conference.
The four CMs (Mamata Banerjee, N Chandrababu Naidu, HD Kumaraswamy and Pinarayi Vijayan) also met Kejriwal’s family including his wife at his residence in Delhi. Delhi Speaker Ram Niwas Goel was also present. The four Chief Ministers had also written a joint letter to L-G Baijal seeking to meet Kejriwal.
“All of us would like to make a representation to you with respect to the issues concerning the Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal. Please grant us a meeting slot today as we are waiting. We request you to give us time around 9 p.m. today (Saturday),” it read.
However, their request was turned down by Baijal, following which the Delhi CM accused PMO of directing LG. Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal posted,”I don’t think LG can take such a decision on his own. Obviously, PMO has directed him to refuse permission. Just like IAS strike is being done at PMO’s instance. We live in a democracy. Can PM deny CMs of other states to meet CM of another state? Raj Niwas is no one’s personal property. It belongs to the people of India.”
Reacting over their support, BJP leader and Union Minister Vijay Goel said,”Do these four Chief Ministers know what led to this crisis? Where were these people when Delhi’s Chief Secretary was being humiliated and assaulted. This crisis began from there.”
About The Protest
Kejriwal, along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and cabinet ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai, has been camping in the Raj Niwas — the official accommodation-cum-office of Lt Governor — since Monday evening. Sisodia and Jain have been on indefinite fast for the past four and five days respectively.
The AAP has been demanding a direction to the IAS officers working in the Delhi administration to end their undeclared strike, action against officers who have “struck work” for four months and approval to his government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration to the poor. The party has also planned a door-to-door campaign starting from June 18 to collect signatures of at least 10 lakh families in support of their demand for full statehood to Delhi.