CM, Ministers stay put at Raj Niwas for second night

CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Ministers Satyendra Jain and Gopal Rai at the Raj Niwas visitors' room on Tuesday evening.

CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Ministers Satyendra Jain and Gopal Rai at the Raj Niwas visitors' room on Tuesday evening.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Satyendar Jain begins indefinite fast; leaders want L-G to intervene to end the ‘four-month-long strike’ by bureaucrats

Having slept on the couch at Raj Niwas on Monday night, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three members of his Cabinet were headed for a second night in the visitors’ room at Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal’s residence as they continued their sit-in on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister demanded that the L-G intervene to end what the Aam Aadmi Party dispensation termed was a four-month-long strike by bureaucrats in the wake of the alleged attack on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs in February.

Mr. Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain had gone to Raj Niwas to attend a meeting at 5.30 p.m. on Monday. After the meeting, they had refused to leave till the L-G met their demands of ending the officers’ agitation, taking action against those who had struck work and clearing the government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration. On Tuesday, Mr. Jain said he had started an indefinite hunger strike.

“Our 2nd nite at LG House. We r here becoz We luv Del n we care for Del We hv worked v hard for Del We want Del to further improve We feel shattered becoz many great initiatives getting stuck Lets improve our beloved Del, LG Sir. N lets do it togethr [sic],” Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet on Tuesday night.

Kejriwal ‘appalled’

Earlier in the day, Mr. Kejriwal had tweeted that he was “really appalled at LG’s stubborn refusal to end the IAS strike and his justifications for the ongoing strike”. He said he wondered what instructions had been given to the L-G by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Though Raj Niwas did not comment on Tuesday, in a statement on Monday it had said the officers were not on strike and that the L-G had asked the Chief Minister to reach out to the bureaucrats.

After the Chief Secretary was allegedly attacked by AAP MLAs at the Chief Minister’s residence during a late-night meeting on February 19, government officers had stopped attending meetings as a protest, restricting themselves to written communication with the political executive. The officers had demanded an apology from Mr Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia.

In a statement on Tuesday, the IAS AGMUT Association said, “All officers, including IAS officers, in the Delhi government are working with full vigour and dedication. Files are being disposed of and dealt with regularly as per rules. There is no question of any officer in Delhi government being on strike”.

While the impasse continued, outside Raj Niwas, security personnel cordoned off roads leading to the L-G’s residence. A senior police officer said about 500 Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in and around the premises to prevent AAP as well as Opposition party workers from gathering.

The officer said the police were allowing the vehicles of the Chief Minister’s staff to go inside to deliver food and medicines.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 5:47:23 PM |

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