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Delhi CM Kejriwal reassures IAS officers as HC slams his sit-in protest at L-G’s office

IAS officers said they look forward to “concrete interventions” for their security and dignity as they welcomed discussions with the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government on Monday, a move that could end the chief minister’s week-long strike at the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

delhi Updated: Jun 18, 2018 20:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi CM Kejriwal strike,IAS officers,Delhi government
IAS officers hold a press conference at Press Club of India in New Delhi, on June 17, 2018.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

IAS officers of the Delhi government on Monday welcomed discussions with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose strike at lieutenant governor Anil Baijal’s office over their “non-cooperation” prompted the high court to question its validity.

The developments came on a day when Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia was hospitalised after health minister Satyendar Jain, and Congress president Rahul Gandhi called the protests by the AAP and the BJP “drama” that hurt Delhiites.

The IAS officers said that they look forward to “concrete interventions” for their security and dignity, a move that may break the four-month-long impasse between the AAP dispensation and the bureaucrats following an alleged assault on chief secretary Anshu Prakash by some ruling party MLAs at the chief minister’s residence in February.

The association of officers of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union territories) cadre said that they continue to be at work with “full dedication” and “vigour”.

Kejriwal had on Sunday assured the bureaucrats that he will use all the powers and resources at his command to ensure their safety and security.

He has been sitting in protest in the L-G’s office since last Monday, demanding that the officers call off their “strike”.

The Delhi high court asked the Kejriwal government who authorised his sit-in at the L-G’s office, observing it was not a place to protest.

“You are sitting inside the L-G’s office. If it’s a strike, it has to be outside the office,” said a bench comprising Justice AK Chawla and Justice Navin Chawla, according to news agency PTI.

The court was hearing two petitions: one against Kejriwal’s protest and another against the alleged strike by the IAS officers. The court is likely to hear the two petitions and one filed by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Vijender Gupta, who is Leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly, on June 22.

Sisodia hospitalised after Jain

Meanwhile, Kejriwal’s deputy, Manish Sisodia, who had been fasting during the sit-in, had to be hospitalised in the afternoon after he complained of pain in his abdomen caused by high levels of ketone, a compound that is produced to burn fat to produce energy when carbohydrates (normal food) are not consumed.

Sisodia was admitted to Lok Nayak hospital’s ICU and is on a bed next to Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain, who had also been fasting and had to be rushed to the hospital on Sunday night.

“Satyendar Jain had been admitted with a ketone level of 7 and Manish Sisodia with a 7.4,” said Dr J C Passey, medical director of Lok Nayak hospital, warning that these were “very high and the ministers should end their fast”.

The normal range of ketones in the body is between 0.6 and 1.5 mmol/L. A person with ketone levels between 1.5 and 3 mmol/L risks ketoacidosis (extreme and uncontrolled production of ketones) and serious complications that can be fatal too.

Both the ministers will remain in the intensive care unit and will be monitored closely by a team of doctors until their ketone levels come down.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi criticised the protests by the AAP and the BJP.

“Delhi CM, sitting in Dharna at LG office. BJP sitting in Dharna at CM residence. Delhi bureaucrats addressing press conferences. PM turns a blind eye to the anarchy; rather nudges chaos & disorder. People of Delhi are the victims, as this drama plays out,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

Delhi BJP MP Pravesh Singh Saheb Verma, MLAs Vijender Gupta and Manjinder Singh Sirsa and suspended AAP MLA Kapil Mishra have been on a hunger strike since June 15, accusing Kejriwal government of “non-performance”.

Four chief ministers of opposition-ruled states and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have supported Kejriwal, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene for his demands. The Congress, which has been urging Opposition unity for the 2019 elections, had not commented on Kejriwal’s protests till now.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jun 18, 2018 19:52 IST