Kejriwal continues protest at L-G Baijal’s office, blasts him for defending bureaucrats
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues on Tuesday continued their sit-in protest at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office, demanding that he declare the “strike” by bureaucrats “illegal”.
Kejriwal on Tuesday morning rebutted Baijal who had on Monday night said in a statement that the bureaucrats were not on strike and that the chief minister was staging a “dharna without reason”.
“For around four months officers in Delhi government have been on partial strike, which is affecting affecting development work. Officers just clear the most important files and do not attend meeting with ministers. They do not answer calls or respond to messages,” said Kejriwal.
“Since February me and my cabinet colleagues have met and written to the L-G multiple times on the issue, but to no avail. Every time he seeks for one week’s time,” he told reporters.
Sources in Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the chief minister will continue his protest until Baijal responds. Home minister Satyendar Jain begun an indefinite fast to protest Baijal’s support for the bureaucrats .
Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and two ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai went to meet Baijal at 5:30pm on Monday to discuss the issue of bureaucrats not attending meetings with ministers and getting the doorstep delivery of ration approved.
They said Baijal denied to pass the order after which the team decided to stay put at the waiting room in L-G’s office. Their other demand included that Baijal clears their file on doorstep delivery of ration.
The night saw high drama with AAP legislators and leaders gathering outside Baijal’s office in support of Kejriwal.
Heavy police were deployed as more AAP supporters joined in. AAP leaders like Atishi Marlena, minister Rajendra Pal Gautam and a number of legislators sat on the street outside the office after midnight to protest with Kejriwal.
Baijal issued a statement on Monday, saying the chief minister had threatened him to summon bureaucrats and pass an order declaring their “so-called strike” illegal.
“It was reiterated by the L-G that there is no strike by employees of Delhi government and in his continued interactions with 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 by the Cabinet,” the statement said.
It added that Kejriwal’s act was “an unprecedented move that betrays little respect and dignity for constitutional offices”.
“Hon’ble LG replied that he had already spoken to officers in this regard and the Hon’ble CM and Ministers’ insistence to summon them is not desirable. Two wrongs never make a right,” the statement said.
“The secretaries are regularly submitting to the ministers weekly report of the important matters disposed of by their respective departments... Copies of these reports are also marked to the CM and the LG. Similarly, all court cases are being attended to,” the statement said.
The AAP government and the bureaucracy have been at loggerheads since the alleged assault on chief secretary Anshu Prakash at Kejriwal’s residence in February. Bureaucrats have been skipping meetings with ministers and working through written communication since then.