Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Get ready for statehood campaign, says Kejriwal

“Officers’ attendance at meetings is a small victory”

After ending his dharna at Raj Niwas after nine days, Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday told his party to get ready for a campaign seeking full statehood for Delhi. Mr. Kejriwal and three Ministers had staged a sit-in inside Raj Niwas since June 11, demanding that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal end what they called a strike by officers, who had been protesting against the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at the Chief Minister’s house on February 19.

The officers had denied that they were on strike, but they had been skipping certain meetings called by the political executive. On Tuesday, several meetings called by Ministers were attended by officers, leading Mr. Kejriwal and his colleagues to call off their dharna.

Leaving Raj Niwas and returning to his residence, about 3 km away in Civil Lines, Mr. Kejriwal was greeted by AAP leaders and workers.

The party’s MLAs and other leaders were already at Mr. Kejriwal’s residence to attend a meeting at 4 p.m. to discuss the signature campaign for full statehood.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Kejriwal said the officers’ attendance at meetings was a “small victory”, but he added that it was a win for everyone, not just the four leaders who had staged the sit-in.

Public support

Referring to the protest marches carried out by the AAP to Raj Niwas on June 13 and to the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday, Mr. Kejriwal said the public support for the party’s cause had led to the development.

He thanked the political parties which came out in support, referring to the visits by the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala to his residence on June 16; the visit of Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav and CPI leader D. Raja to the hospital to meet Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Monday; and the attendance of CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury at Sunday’s protest march.

“All parties apart from the BJP and Congress supported us. Now that we have struggled this much, we have to get full statehood for Delhi. Get ready for the campaign,” he said, adding that a meeting would be called in the coming days to plan out the strategy.

Later, two AAP sources said the party would now roll-out a campaign till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, keeping the issue of full statehood at the heart.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said a signature campaign would be launched soon, and the party would target other parties, like the BJP, who have promised statehood to Delhi in the past. The BJP, in particular, he said, had promised statehood during the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 1:12:41 AM |

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