AAP leaders lay siege to L-­G office, refuse to leave till demands are met
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AAP leaders lay siege to L-­G office, refuse to leave till demands are met

Kejriwal and his colleagues decided to stay put at Anil Baijal’s office until he conceded to pass an order terming the “strike” by bureaucrats “illegal” and took action against them.

delhi Updated: Jun 12, 2018 07:23 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Anil Baijal,Arvind Kejriwal,Kejriwal protest
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Satyendra Kumar Jain and Gopal Rai during a sit-in protest at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s residence, in New Delhi on Monday, June 11, 2018.(PTI)

A meeting between Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal and the Cabinet of the Delhi government turned into high political drama on Monday evening after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his colleagues refused to leave the L-G office until their demands were met. AAP leaders were inside the L-G office till midnight.

Kejriwal went to meet Baijal to discuss the issue of bureaucrats not attending meetings with his ministers and the scheme for the doorstep delivery of ration. The chief minister, along with his deputy Manish Sisodia and two other ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai, met the L-G and handed him a letter detailing “how governance in Delhi was being affected because of officers not attending meetings”.

After handing over the letter, Kejriwal and his colleagues decided to stay put at Baijal’s office until he conceded to pass an order terming the “strike” by bureaucrats “illegal” and took action against them.

“Handed L-G a letter, but he refused to take action. L-G is under constitutional duty to act. Left with no option, we have politely told the L-G that we will not leave till he acts on all points,” Kejriwal tweeted at night.

Baijal’s office alleged the CM “threatened” the L-G and forced him to summon the bureaucrats and take action. “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 by the Cabinet,” a statement from the L-G house 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. Since then, bureaucrats have been skipping meetings with ministers and have only been working through written communication.

The IAS officers working in the Delhi government, too, issued a statement saying none of the officers has been on strike since the February incident. “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,” it said.

The government alleged that the protest by officers was “masterminded” by Baijal. “The press release issued by the L-G is clear evidence that he is the mastermind behind the IAS officers strike in Delhi for last three months, which has never happened in free India,” said Sisodia.

Until this report was filed, Kejriwal and the other ministers remained at L-G’s waiting room even as Baijal himself left the office to pay a visit to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee at AIIMS. Police presence around the office was heavily increased as around 20 AAP volunteers had gathered outside his office in support of their leader.

The issue of face-off between the cabinet and the bureaucrats was discussed in the Assembly too. Speaker Ram Niwas Goel referred the matter of the bureaucrats not providing answers to around five questions asked by MLAs to the Privilege Committee and directed it to submit its report within a month.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had said that the Centre was taking “undue advantage” of his silence by slapping multiple inquiries on projects conceived by the AAP government. He alleged that the Prime Minister’s Office is misusing CBI, ACB, IT, ED and the Lieutenant-Governor to derail Delhi government’s flagship projects.

First Published: Jun 12, 2018 07:14 IST