Under fire from the Opposition for their decision to protest for at least 10 days, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government said no official work would suffer due to their open-air dharna against Delhi Police.
Amid the run-ins between the police and AAP supporters that continued throughout the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Education Minister Manish Sisodia quietly settled in their new open-air office, turning the protest site near Rail Bhawan into a mini secretariat.
After addressing the media and his supporters, Kejriwal and Sisodia sat cross-legged and had animated chats with bureaucrats, who brought official files from Delhi Secretariat over routine as well as urgent governance issues.
The duo studied and signed files while AAP supporters shouted slogans and bewildered policemen looked on. Kejriwal’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, who was at the sit-in, said: “I am here as I have to get instructions and suggestions from the CM. He will work from here whenever his interventions are needed. No work will suffer as government work happens wherever the CM is. We’re getting all the important files here.”
“Though I’m concerned only about the CM, I guess respective secretaries will take care, from where ever they are, of works of other ministers,” he said, adding, “There are officials in various departments at the secretariat and every work doesn’t need interventions at the highest level.”
The chief minister said, “The protest will not affect the functioning of the government. The place of work has changed; the work has not.”
Sisodia said: “Our work won’t suffer at all. All files that need attention are being brought to us here. The CM has seen 20-25 files. I have myself gone through at least 15 files. Our goal is to ensure welfare of people either through governance or such movements,” he said.
Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Manish Tewari, however, said government was not run “on the streets” and criticised Kejriwal for “constitutional anarchy” and “gimmickry”.