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AAP threatens to intensify protest in Delhi, warns of dharna in front of PMO next

More than 1,500 AAP workers march to L­G Anil Baijal’s residence. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia threatens to go on hunger strike too.

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2018 08:40 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AAP protest,Arvind Kejriwal,AAP dharna
AAP leaders hold a protest against Lieutenant­Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

More than 1,500 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters hit the streets on Wednesday to show solidarity with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been on a sit-in protest at Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal’s office for three days.

The protest is likely to intensify in the coming days with AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh giving an ultimatum to the L-G and the Centre to get the bureaucrats to end their ‘protest of not attending meetings with ministers by Sunday’ or face a bigger “dharna”. “If the strike by bureaucrats is not resolved by Sunday, then AAP leaders and workers would stage a dharna at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). On Thursday, party legislators and leaders will hold a candle light march,” he said.

The AAP government’s demands to the L-G include a direction to IAS officers to end their ‘strike’ and action against those who have kept away from work for “four months”.

The party also wants the L-G to approve the proposal for doorstep delivery of ration.

With no fresh response coming from the L-G’s office, deputy chief minster Manish Sisoida on Wednesday morning announced that he, too, might join his colleague, home minister Satyendar Jain, in his hunger strike.

Buses full of AAP volunteers lined up on the streets leading to Kejriwal’s residence at 11 Flagstaff Road from Wednesday afternoon. Slogans such as “L-G sahab Dilli choro” (L-G, leave Delhi) and “Kejriwal tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hain” (Kejriwal you fight, we are with you) permeated the air on Rajpur Road and Underhill Road in North Delhi’s Civil Lines area.

Though the AAP claimed that the turnout at the protest was more than 3,000, the North district police managing the crowd said the number was about 1,500. “MLAs were told to activate their volunteers base in their constituencies. This message was then passed to ward level workers. Buses were arranged by the legislators,” said Karol Bagh MLA Vishesh Ravi. A number of legislators such as Bhavna Gaur, Sanjeev Jha, Bandana Kumari walked with the party .

Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who resigned from the BJP recently, also joined AAP leaders and workers outside the chief minister’s Civil Lines residence from where the protest march proceeded to the L-G’s office.

Addressing a gathering, Sinha said that before coming to the protest site he had tried to meet Kejriwal at the L-G’s office Raj Niwas, just a few hundred metres from where the march culminated due to heavy police presence and barricading. “I was not allowed to meet him. If former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were there, he would have directed the home minister to find a solution,” Sinha said.

The IAS officers’ association has maintained that no officer is on strike and no work of the Delhi government has been affected.

The Association on Tuesday had blamed Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues for not making efforts to resolve the differences.

Speaker supports CM

Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has written to L-G Anil Baijal and lent his support to the chief minister’s protest.

In his letter to Baijal on Wednesday, Goel said the work of Delhi’s development has been affected for the last few months, which was a “well-planned conspiracy” and asked him to get “strike” by officers called off.

First Published: Jun 14, 2018 08:08 IST