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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

A sit-in protest, a counter sit-in, hunger strike, and an unprecedented press meet, Delhi political scene was abuzz for the last nine days.
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.  

When Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal left Raj Niwas — the official residence of Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal — to his home on June 20, it made headlines in the media. While a chief minister visiting an L-G's office is not new, a chief minister and his cabinet colleagues occupying the visitor's lounge of Raj Niwas for nine days is something unheard of.

On June 11, Mr. Kejriwal convened a press conference and accused the Delhi bureaucrats of skipping meetings called by him and his ministers. He further claimed the officers were "on a strike for four months" and it was being "orchestrated by the PMO and coordinated by the L-G.” He further sought the L-G's intervention in the matter.

While the L-G's office refused to give an appointment to Mr. Kejriwal, he and his colleagues — Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Transport Minister Gopal Rai — began a sit-in protest at Raj Niwas. While Mr. Baijal continued to work from his residence, the visitor's lounge became the shelter for Mr. Kejriwal and his ministers.

In the meantime, the Opposition BJP launched a counter-protest outside the Chief Minister’s office in the Delhi Secretariat accusing Mr. Kejriwal of striking work.

Mr. Jain began his indefinite hunger strike from June 12, while Mr. Sisodia from the next day to add pressure to the L-G. Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta, along with his fellow legislators Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Jagdish Pradhan, west Delhi MP Parvesh Verma, and suspended AAP MLA Kapil Mishra too started a hunger strike.

Public interest litigations were filed in Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court from both the sides.

Mr. Kejriwal received support from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who in the past have been vocal about what they call interference by the Centre in their States' affairs. Puducherry Chief Minister Narayanaswamy also blamed the L-G office for the situation in the Capital. 

Probably for the first time, the Delhi IAS Association, held a press conference on June 17, to refute Mr. Kejriwal's claim. On their part, the bureaucrats and civil servants claimed they feared for their safety in front of elected representatives, referring to the alleged assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP legislators in Mr. Kejriwal's home on February 19.

The unprecedented press meet finally broke the stalemate with Mr. Kejriwal agreeing to discuss the issue with the officers and Mr. Sisodia writing to the L-G insisting on his presence in such a meet. Mr. Jain, Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Gupta were hospitalised as their health deteriorated due to fasting.

The sit-in and counter sit-in were called off on June 19 after ministers and officials started taking part in meetings, bringing some respite to the turbulent political situation in the Capital. Mr. Kejriwal has already announced that his party will step up its campaign on statehood for Delhi.

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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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Gupta in hospital after ending 5-day hunger strike

BJP leaders offer juice to Vijender Gupta after he ended his hunger strike at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday.

BJP leaders offer juice to Vijender Gupta after he ended his hunger strike at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday.  

Leader of the Opposition says if the CM fails to work pragmatically, problems may crop up again

The BJP MLA and the Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta alleged that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s “drama” has been “exposed” by the struggle of the Opposition leaders and the hunger strike staged by them.

Mr. Gupta’s hunger strike triggered health issues on Tuesday necessitating his hospitalisation.

“The mindset and strategy of the Aam Aadmi Party [AAP] leads to the fear that the future course is paved with thorns. There are still many unresolved issues. If the Chief Minister fails to work pragmatically, problems may crop up again,” Mr. Gupta said.

Mr. Gupta, along with his fellow legislators Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Jagdish Pradhan, west Delhi MP Parvesh Verma and suspended AAP MLA Kapil Mishra ended his five-day dharna outside the Chief Minister’s Office after Mr. Kejriwal called off his sit-in at the Lieutenant-Governor’s office and his Cabinet colleagues resumed work.

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan symbolically ended the protesting leaders’ hunger strike by offering them water at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday evening.

The LoP advised Mr. Kejriwal to start working for solving problems faced by the people. “He should get down to work. He will have to prove true to his words and assurance given by him to the IAS officers of his government,” he said.

‘Kept our promise’

BJP MLA Sirsa alleged that Mr. Kejriwal and his Ministers “wasted” nine days of the people of Delhi while Opposition leaders kept their promise to “force” them to resume work.

“We had promised to the people of Delhi that we will not end our hunger strike at the Secretariat until Kejriwal and his Ministers join office and we have kept our promise,” he said.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

L-G asks CM to urgently meet officers

Back home: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his wife Sunita Kejriwal and party leaders Satyendra Jain and Madan Lal, at his residence on Tuesday.

Back home: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his wife Sunita Kejriwal and party leaders Satyendra Jain and Madan Lal, at his residence on Tuesday.  

Bureaucrats attend routine meetings with Delhi Ministers over pending matters

Sticking to his stand, Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal on Tuesday advised Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to “urgently meet the officers in the Secretariat” as promised by him.

This, even as the IAS AGMUT Association, in an open letter released later in the day, said it wanted to “reiterate” the political neutrality of bureaucrats and civil servants. The bureaucrats attended routine meetings with Ministers revolving around the review of urgent pending matters on Tuesday evening, said sources. They are also expecting Mr. Kejriwal to convene a meeting to discuss issues revolving around their safety as the first thing on Wednesday.

In response to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s letter to him asking that he convene a meeting with officers and elected representatives, Mr. Baijal wrote to the Chief Minister advising him to “make efforts to restore trust between the elected government and the officers.” As reported by The Hindu last week, Mr. Baijal had made the same submission to Mr. Kejriwal prior to the beginning of the sit-in protest on June 11.

On Monday, Mr. Sisodia, in his letter, had demanded the L-G’s presence in meetings proposed by Mr. Kejriwal to discuss apprehensions about the safety of bureaucrats in the presence of members of the elected government.

“The L-G has written that earlier also, he had advised to make efforts to restore trust between the elected-government and the officers...he observed that...officers...are awaiting the CM’s presence in the Secretariat to hold discussions,” Raj Niwas said in a statement.

‘Politically neutral’

The L-G, the statement said, requested the Chief Minister “to urgently meet the officers in the Secretariat so that apprehensions and concerns of both sides can be suitably addressed through dialogue in the best interest of the people of Delhi.”

On its part, the officers’ association, in response to what sources in the bureaucracy said were repeated statements questioning their alleged political leanings, said that as bureaucrats and civil servants they were “politically neutral.”

“We have served under different political parties over the years...we request you not to label us with any political dispensation...We strive to work as per the law and the Constitution,” the Association said in the letter adding that its members awaited Mr. Kejriwal’s presence in the Secretariat to hold the meeting proposed by him.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Kejriwal calls off dharna after 9 days

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence after calling off his 'dharna' at Lt Governor Anil Baijal's house, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence after calling off his 'dharna' at Lt Governor Anil Baijal's house, in New Delhi on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Delhi bureaucrats have been at loggerheads with the AAP dispensation following the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash

After officers attended meetings called by ministers on Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ended his sit-in at Raj Niwas, nine days after he began the protest seeking an end to the bureaucrats’ “strike” and approval for the Aam Aadmi Party government’s proposal for home delivery of ration.

Mr. Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain had started a dharna at a visitors’ room in Raj Niwas on June 11 after a meeting with Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal. After Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain, who had been on indefinite strike, were admitted to hospital on Monday and Sunday respectively, Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Rai had remained on dharna till Tuesday evening.

Returning home after nine days, Mr. Kejriwal in his address to gathered party leaders and workers said Tuesday’s development was a “small victory” and that the party would now launch a campaign for full statehood for Delhi.

“With one phone call from the L-G, the officers attended the meetings,” he said, adding that the officers had been threatened by Raj Niwas not to attend meetings called by ministers.

Addressing a press conference at his residence after being discharged from hospital, Mr. Sisodia said meetings of the Transport, Revenue, Food and Civil Supplies, Administrative Reforms and Information Technology departments called by the respective ministers were attended by IAS officers. Since the alleged attack on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs at the Chief Minister’s residence in February, Delhi government officers had restricted their communication with the political executive to written form and attending statutory meetings.

“Six officers, including the Chief Secretary, attended meetings called by ministers. This shows that officers are returning to work,” Mr. Sisodia said, adding that officers had told him that they had been given the go-ahead “from the top”, referring to the L-G and the Centre, to start attending meetings.

On the issue of the ration delivery proposal, Mr. Sisodia said the leaders had decided that by staying on dharna, the issue would not be resolved. “We will have to take the fight to the streets,” he said.

Meanwhile, the L-G did not budge from his previously stated stance of not involving himself in the matter. Mr. Sisodia had on Monday asked the L-G to call a meeting of the officers and political executive. On Tuesday, Mr. Baijal said he had requested Mr. Kejriwal to “urgently meet the officers in the Secretariat.”

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Waiting to hear from CM on meeting he promised, say Delhi bureaucrats

(L-R) IAS Officers Varsha Joshi, Manisha Saxena and Jaidev Sarang addressing the media.

(L-R) IAS Officers Varsha Joshi, Manisha Saxena and Jaidev Sarang addressing the media.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

According to the sources, the Chief Secretary and not the LG was the head of the bureaucracy being the senior-most bureaucrat posted in the Delhi government.

A day after the seeming thaw in relations between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government and the bureaucracy hit a dead end, officers said they were waiting to be a part of a meeting to address security concerns expressed by them.

The AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) IAS Association took to Twitter to take a step towards a possible resolution.

“#DelhiAtWork #NoToStrike In the context of Honble CM's assurance, we await formal communication for a meeting with him in the Delhi Secretariat. We reiterate that we continue to be at work” the Association tweeted from its official handle.

Sources in the bureaucracy maintain that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s insistence on the presence of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal at such a meeting, expressed in a letter written to him on Monday, was not required given his constitutional role.

According to the sources, the Chief Secretary and not the LG was the head of the bureaucracy being the senior-most bureaucrat posted in the Delhi government.

The sit-in

The Hindu had reported that Mr. Baijal had made this submission to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues at a meeting last Monday, following which the sit-in by them at a visitor’s room in Raj Niwas began.

Bureaucrats, who have been demanding an apology from the Chief Minister for the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at the Chief Minister’s residence in February, have also sought an assurance of their safety during meetings.

The AGMUT IAS Association convened an out of the ordinary press conference on Sunday to clarify its stand and refute allegations from the AAP government that the bureaucracy was on strike “for months”.

After their press conference, Mr. Kejriwal had said that he was the “head of the family” consisting of both government and bureaucracy, and he was willing to discuss issues relating to officers’ safety.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Minister Satyendar Jain discharged from hospital

Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, with staff at LNJP Hospital on Tuesday.

Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, with staff at LNJP Hospital on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

They had been on hunger strike since June 13 and June 12 at Raj Niwas, where they were staging a sit-in since June 11, demanding an end to a ''strike by government officers''.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain were on Tuesday morning discharged from the LNJP Hospital, where they were admitted after their health deteriorated due to a fast they began last week. 

Both had been on hunger strike since June 13 and June 12 at Raj Niwas, where they were staging a sit-in since June 11 to demand an end to what they call a strike by government officers.

On Sunday night, Mr. Jain was shifted to the hospital, followed by Mr. Sisodia on Monday morning.

On being discharged, they have gone back to their respective homes, Aam Aadmi Party sources said.

While in hospital, Mr. Sisodia tweeted at 8.46 a.m.: "Good Morning!!With Doctor's care and your blessings, I am recovering fast. Yesterday, my ketone level was 7.4 & BP reached 184/100, which was leading  to renal failure. But now everything is under control. If doctors allow I'll try to be back to work today only."  

Medical Superintendent of the LNJP Hospital J.C. Passey said, “Both the Ministers were discharged around 10 a.m. Their health parameters, including ketone level in urine, are normal now.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

After Jain, Sisodia admitted to hospital

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav and AAP MP Sanjay Singh visit Health Minister Satyendar Jain in the hospital on Monday.

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav and AAP MP Sanjay Singh visit Health Minister Satyendar Jain in the hospital on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Leaders in stable condition; Kejriwal completes a week of protest at Raj Niwas

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, on indefinite fast since June 13, was on Monday afternoon shifted to Lok Nayak Hospital from Raj Niwas. He had been staging a sit-in at the L-G house along with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and two Ministers since June 11.

With Mr. Sisodia joining Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who has been on fast since June 12 and was admitted to the hospital on Sunday night, Mr. Kejriwal and Labour Minister Gopal Rai completed one week of their protest at Raj Niwas.

The four Aam Aadmi Party leaders have been demanding that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal put an end to what they call a strike by government officers and clear the proposal for home delivery of ration. Raj Niwas has denied that the officers are on strike.

According to hospital sources, Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain were in stable condition on Monday, though Mr. Jain was in the ICU.

J.C. Passey, medical superintendent of Lok Nayak Hospital, said that the Health Minister was shifted from Raj Niwas at 11.50 p.m. on Sunday after he complained of headache, nausea, abdomen pain, respiratory difficulties and urine retention. He added that Mr. Jain was not taking food orally and was being given glucose, electrolytes and medication for symptomatic relief intravenously.

“Our team of specialists has examined him again today [Monday] and has advised some investigations. He is likely to be kept in the ICU for the next 24 hours for observation,” he said.

Stream of visitors

Meanwhile, the two AAP leaders continued to receive a stream of visitors, including MPs from other political parties.

Among those who visited Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain in hospital were Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav, Communist Party of India leader and Rajya Sabha MP D. Raja and self-styled spiritual guru Acharya Pramod, apart from AAP leaders, Delhi government Ministers and MLAs.

Photos of the visitors at the hospital beds of the two leaders were shared on social media.

After the visits, Mr. Kejriwal thanked Mr. Raja and Mr. Yadav in two separate tweets for extending their support to the AAP.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

‘Stalemate between AAP govt, bureaucracy continues’

(Left to right) AAP leaders Ashish Khetan, Sanjay Singh and Saurabh Bharadwaj at a press conference in the Capital on Monday.

(Left to right) AAP leaders Ashish Khetan, Sanjay Singh and Saurabh Bharadwaj at a press conference in the Capital on Monday.   | Photo Credit: SANDEEP_SAXENA

Sources say bringing L-G into picture complicated matters again

Strained ties between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the bureaucracy went a step forward before going two steps back here on Monday, sources in the party and bureaucracy said.

The relations seemed to be thawing initially, but by the end of the day, which marked a week into Mr. Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at Raj Niwas, the situation seemed to be back to square one. Mr. Kejriwal has been demanding an end to a “strike” by the bureaucracy, which has denied the charge.

Officers show interest

On Monday afternoon, officers said they were open to talks with Mr. Kejriwal, who on Sunday had assured them of their safety during meetings. The bureaucrats, who have been demanding an apology from the Chief Minister for the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at the former’s residence in February, have also sought an assurance of their safety during meetings.

However, a letter from Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to L-G Anil Baijal later in the day, seeking to put the onus of resolving the deadlock on Raj Niwas, seemed to have put a spanner in the works, said sources.

Responding to the Chief Minister’s assurance of their safety, the IAS AGMUT Association tweeted: “...Officers of GNCTD welcome Hon’ble CM’s appeal. We reiterate that we continue to be at work with full dedication & vigour. We look forward to concrete interventions for our security & dignity. We are open to formal discussions with Honble CM on this matter [sic].”

Later, however, sources in the bureaucracy said that bringing the L-G into the picture complicated matters again. Mr. Sisodia, in his letter to Mr. Baijal, said that since “security and services” were under his purview, any meeting between the executive and the officers should be chaired by him at the earliest. Raj Niwas did not comment on Mr. Sisodia’s letter.

‘Not the real issue’

Responding to the statement of the IAS AGMUT Association, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the issue of the officers’ security while attending meetings was not really why the bureaucrats had stayed away from meetings.

“We are calling their bluff. They say they are concerned about their safety. But, today [Monday], Environment and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain had called two meetings — one for each department. The officers of the Environment Department, including the Secretary, attended the meeting, but the Food and Civil Supplies Commissioner did not, despite being in office,” said Mr. Bharadwaj.

He added that if safety was a concern, then one set of officers would not have been comfortable attending a meeting with the same Minister in the same office. “It is not up to the officers to end the impasse. The Central government is calling the shots,” he said.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia hospitalised

Manish Sisodia has been admitted to LNJP hospital.

Manish Sisodia has been admitted to LNJP hospital.  

He has been on a hunger strike since June 13 at the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who has been on hunger strike since June 13 at the Lieutenant Governor’s office at the Raj Niwas, was on Monday shifted to the LNJP Hospital after his health deteriorated, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

"Manish Sisodia's ketone level reaches 7.4. Yesterday it was 6.4. ideally it should be zero. 2+ level is considered to be danger zone. Team of doctors reaching LG house to see him (sic)," Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said in a tweet.

“Manish Sisodia being shifted to hospital,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted soon after.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who had been on indefinite fast since June 12, was on Sunday night hospitalised after his condition deteriorated. He was taken to the LNJP Hospital where his condition was stable, doctors said.

Mr. Kejriwal, Mr. Sisodia and Gopal Rai have been staging a sit-in inside the Raj Niwas since June 11. They are demanding that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal intervene to end what they call an illegal strike by Delhi government officers.

 

 

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Is your sit-in authorised by Lieutenant Governor, Delhi HC asks Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and members of his Cabinet staging a sit-in at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s residence in New Delhi on June 16, 2018.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and members of his Cabinet staging a sit-in at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s residence in New Delhi on June 16, 2018.  

“If it is a strike or dharna, it has to be somewhere else,” the Bench comprising Justices A.K. Chawla and Navin Chawla remarked.

A Delhi High Court Bench on Monday questioned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal whether his sit-in at the office of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) was authorised by the LG.

“If it is a strike or dharna, it has to be somewhere else,” the Bench comprising Justices A.K. Chawla and Navin Chawla remarked.

The observation came during the hearing of two petitions, one against Mr. Kejriwal’s sit-in and the other against the alleged strike by the IAS officers of the Delhi government.

“Who authorised the strike/dharna,” the Bench asked the lawyers appearing for the Delhi government in the two matters.

Apart from the two petitions, a separate plea was moved by Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta against the sit-in by Mr. Kejriwal at Lt. Governor Anil Baijal’s office.

The Bench made the IAS Association as party in the case and posted the next hearing for Friday.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

We are shouted at and threatened, say officers

(L-R) IAS Officers Varsha Joshi, Manisha Saxena and Jaidev Sarang addressing the media.

(L-R) IAS Officers Varsha Joshi, Manisha Saxena and Jaidev Sarang addressing the media.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

An IAS association on Sunday said that officers are being “threatened” and “do not feel safe anywhere” since the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in February.

IAS officers of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre held a press conference on Sunday to tell their side of the story in their ongoing tussle with the Aam Aadmi Party government.

Refuting claims of the Delhi government that IAS officers are on strike, the association said that a lot of misinformation was being spread about them as they are not on strike and all their officers are at work.

The officers, however, admitted to not attending ‘routine’ meetings called by the Ministers where they “do not feel safe”.

Varsha Joshi, Delhi Transport Commissioner, said: “We are called and threats are made. We are shouted at, threats of physical harm are made… I have been threatened. Someone said ‘main Varsha Joshi ka sir phodwa dunga [I will get Varsha Joshi beaten]’”.

If people can misbehave with the Chief Secretary of the State — who has a security staff — then who is safe, asked Manisha Saxena, the association’s secretary.

She said, “We all are in our offices doing our work, conducting inspections and everybody is working with utmost sincerity and dedication” adding that the “abnormal situation” led them to address the press and clarify their stand.

Within hours of the press conference, Mr. Kejriwal took to social media where he assured that he “will ensure their [the officers] safety and security”.

We are family, says CM

“The officers are a part of my family. I would urge them to stop their boycott of the elected government, return to work now and start attending all meetings of Ministers, respond to their calls and messages and join them for field inspections,” said Mr. Kejriwal.

The officers categorically refuted several allegations made against them by the AAP government. They denied that the secretaries in the Delhi government are not answering phone calls of Ministers and MLAs.

They said that none of the calls go unanswered. “Even if we are unable to receive a call, we call them [MLAs and Minister] back. As officers, we are bound to reply to the calls,” the officers said.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Delhi Health Minister shifted to LNJP Hospital

Satyender Jain been taken to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.

Satyender Jain been taken to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

In a late night tweet, Mr. Kejriwal said that Satyender Jain had been shifted to hospital due to his deteriorating health condition.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who has been on indefinite fast since June 12, was on Sunday evening admitted to hospital after his condition deteriorated, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

In a late night tweet, Mr. Kejriwal said: "Satyender Jain shifted to hospital due to his deteriorating health (sic)." According to a party spokesperson, Mr. Jain had been admitted to the Delhi government's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.

"The Minister's sugar levels have fallen and we have started him on a drip. We will be monitoring his health status carefully," said a senior hospital official.

Mr. Kejriwal, along with Mr. Jain, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Labour Minister Gopal Rai, have been staging a sit-in inside Raj Niwas since June 11, demanding that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal intervene to end what they call an illegal strike by government officers.

Mr. Jain has started his fast on June 12, followed by Mr. Sisodia on June 13. In a statement on June 16, Mr. Jain had said that his weight had gone down from 82.7 kg on June 12 to 79 kg on June 16. Both leaders have had only water since starting their fasts, he had said.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

We’re not on strike, say Delhi IAS officers

IAS officers Varsha Joshi and Manisha Saxena address a press conference.

IAS officers Varsha Joshi and Manisha Saxena address a press conference.  

Allege they have been victimised

The Delhi IAS Association on Sunday refuted the Aam Aadmi Party’s claim that its members were on an “undeclared strike.” Revenue Secretary Manisha Saxena, Transport Commissioner Varsha Joshi, South Delhi District Magistrate Amjad Tak and Directorate of Information and Publicity Secretary Jaydev Sarangi told reporters here that IAS officers were “working with utmost sincerity and dedication” and in a neutral manner.

“We have been targeted and victimised and told that we are working with someone. We would like to inform that we are not on strike,” Ms. Saxena said.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been camping at the residence of the Lieutenant Governor with his Cabinet colleagues Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai for about a week to demand an end to the “undeclared strike,” action against officers who had allegedly been skipping work and acceptance of the demand for door delivery of rations to the poor.

Soon after the IAS officers aired concerns about their safety, Mr. Kejriwal assured them in a statement that he would ensure their safety, saying they were part of his family.

Earlier in the day the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to resolve the “constitutional crisis” created by the tussle between Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the Aam Aadmi Party government, so that the “federal structure” was maintained.

Soon after meeting Mr. Modi on the sidelines of the NITI Aayog general council meeting, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “I along with the Hon’ble CMs of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have requested Hon’ble PM today to resolve the problems of the Delhi government immediately.”

The AAP took out a protest march to the residence of Mr. Modi in the evening. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) also joined the procession.

Later CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury issued a statement supporting Mr. Kejriwal. “Utilising the office of the governors and Lt. Governors, the BJP central government is seeking to destabilise non-BJP democratically elected State governments,” he charged.

(With PTI inputs)

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Kejriwal sit-in: Mamata, Vijayan, Kumaraswamy, Naidu urge Modi to resolve Delhi crisis

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D.Kumaraswamy greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Kerela Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu look on during the governing council meeting of NITI Aayog in New Delhi on June 17, 2018.

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D.Kumaraswamy greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Kerela Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu look on during the governing council meeting of NITI Aayog in New Delhi on June 17, 2018.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Delhi Chief Minister and three members of his cabinet have been camping out at Raj Niwas since June 11.

Four non-BJP Chief Ministers met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17 at the meeting of the NITI Aayog’s fourth general council meeting here and urged him to immediately resolve the problems of the Delhi government.

The four Chief Ministers — West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Karnataka’s H.D. Kumaraswamy and Andhra Pradesh’s N. Chandrababu Naidu — have extended their support to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at Lt. Governor Anil Baijal’s office-cum-residence, Raj Niwas.

“I along with the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have requested the Prime Minister to resolve the problems of Delhi government immediately,” Ms. Banerjee tweeted. She is in Delhi to attend the NITI Aayog meeting. The meeting, chaired by Modi, was not attended by Mr. Kejriwal among others.

 

In a bid to show their solidarity with Mr. Kejriwal, the four Chief Ministers met on June 16 and discussed a strategy to provide support to the AAP leader, who wants IAS officers to end their non-cooperation with his government. The four Chief Ministers visited Mr. Kejriwal’s residence and met his family.

They also wrote to Mr. Baijal seeking to meet Mr. Kejriwal. They said they were denied permission, and wondered if this was possible in a “democracy”. At a joint press conference on June 16, they accused the Central government of “restricting the federal system” and termed it a threat to the nation.

“We will tell the Prime Minister to intervene in this matter and solve it. Had the President been here, we would have told him too. This is a democracy and that is not how a democracy functions. They [Centre and Lt. Governor] are not allowing the government to function. They [Kejriwal government] say they are not able to work. What will they do? Their work has been obstructed and restricted,” Ms. Banerjee said on June 16.

Mr. Kejriwal, along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Cabinet Ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai, is camping at Raj Niwas since June 11, demanding a direction to the IAS officers working in the Delhi administration to end what he terms as an “undeclared strike”.

He also wants the Central government to approve his government’s proposal to deliver ration to the poor at their houses.

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Delhi drama: four Opposition CMs rally behind Kejriwal

Unlikely partners: Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, H.D. Kumaraswamy, Pinarayi Vijayan and N. Chandrababu Naidu at the A.P. Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday before meeting Arvind Kejriwal’s family.

Unlikely partners: Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, H.D. Kumaraswamy, Pinarayi Vijayan and N. Chandrababu Naidu at the A.P. Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday before meeting Arvind Kejriwal’s family.  

In a swipe at the BJP and the Congress, Naidu, Kumaraswamy, Pinarayi Vijayan and Mamata visit his family after being denied permission to visit him at Raj Niwas

The Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal on Saturday called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene to solve the constitutional crisis following the sit-in protest by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the Raj Niwas.

They said they had been denied permission by the Lieutenant-Governor to meet Mr. Arvind Kejriwal at the Raj Niwas .

Chandrababu Naidu, H.D. Kumaraswamy, Pinrayi Vijayan, and Mamata Banerjee met members of Mr. Kejriwal’s family at his residence late on Saturday, and held a press conference.

 

The unlikely unity among the four Opposition leaders is seen as a strong message to the Narendra Modi government and the opposition Congress. Mr. Kejriwal and three of his Cabinet colleagues have been on a sit-in for the past six days.

Write to L-G

Earlier on Saturday, the four Chief Ministers, who are in Delhi to attend Sunday’s NITI Aayog meeting, sought permission to meet Lt. Governor Anil Baijal and submit a representation on the protest by Mr. Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues. In a joint letter to Mr Baijal, the Chief Ministers said, “All of us would like to make a representation to you with respect to the issues concerning the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Arvind Kejriwal. Please grant us a meeting slot today as we are waiting. We request you to give us time around 9 p.m. today.”

 

Before meeting Mr. Kejriwal’s family, the four Chief Ministers had a meeting lasting over 90 minutes. The Opposition quartet marks a first in many ways. For the first time, political adversaries Mr. Vijayan and Ms. Banerjee are being seen together. Also it is a signal to the Congress that the Opposition is not bound by its terms.

 

According to sources close to Mr. Vijayan, he had not planned to join the other three and had retired for the day to catch the Argentina-Iceland football match. But within minutes he got calls from Mr. Naidu, Ms. Banerjee and Mr. Kejriwal. He then headed to the CPI(M) headquarters AKG Bhavan where he discussed the invitation with available Polit Bureau members who directed him to join the meeting.

Ms. Banerjee was the first among the quartet to express solidarity with Mr. Kejriwal.According to sources, she played a pivotal role in bringing the other three leaders together. The Congress has kept the AAP at arm’s length, not inviting it to Opposition meetings.

(With Damini Nath)

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De facto President’s Rule in Delhi: Kejriwal

AAP MPs, MLAs and councillors sit outside the Raj Ghat in support of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues in New Delhi. File

AAP MPs, MLAs and councillors sit outside the Raj Ghat in support of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Delhi Chief Minister’s dharna continues for the sixth day

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said there was “de facto President’s Rule” in the national capital due to what his Aam Aadmi Party termed as an illegal strike by Delhi government officers.

Mr. Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai have been staging a sit-in inside a visitors’ room at Raj Niwas since Monday evening, demanding that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal order an end to what they call a strike by officers. Raj Niwas and the IAS officers’ association has said there is no strike. The officers have, however, restricted communication with the political executive to the written form alone since February, in protest of the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs at Mr. Kejriwal’s residence.

On day six of the sit-in, Mr. Kejriwal responded to a tweet by a journalist that said the officers withdrawing from work was a de facto imposition of President’s Rule.

“I agree. It is de facto President’s rule in Delhi thro IAS strike (sic),” the Chief Minister tweeted.

On Friday, the Chief Minister had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to intervene to end the “strike” so he would be able to leave Raj Niwas and attend a meeting of Niti Aayog scheduled on Sunday.

According to the medical bulletins released by AAP spokespersons, Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain, who are on indefinite fast, had low blood sugar and reported weight loss.

Meanwhile, the AAP, which had carried out a protest march from the Chief Minister’s residence to Raj Niwas on Wednesday, planned a march on Sunday. AAP national secretary Pankaj Gupta said at a press conference that AAP leaders and workers would gather at Mandi House at 4 p.m. on Sunday and then proceed towards the Prime Minister’s residence.

“On one hand, the country is celebrating Eid today [Saturday], on the other hand, the L-G has not found time to meet the Chief Minister and ministers for six days,” he said.

He added that Sunday’s protest would push for two demands — that the Prime Minister intervene to end the “strike” by officers and that the Centre give Delhi the status of a full state.

The police said that they had made elaborate arrangements for the march on Sunday and over 600 officers, including of the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces, would be deployed in the area.

“No one will be allowed to violate any laws and no unlawful activity will be allowed. A multi-layer arrangement has been put in place,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma.

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Sit-in continues, AAP fears attempt to break the protest

AAP leaders with packets of ration during a protest on Friday over the issue of home delivery of ration not being implemented in Delhi.

AAP leaders with packets of ration during a protest on Friday over the issue of home delivery of ration not being implemented in Delhi.  

Police, doctors deployed at Lt. Governor’s house

With the Centre deploying more police personnel near the Lt. Governor’s house, the AAP on Friday voiced fears of attempts to break the four-day-old sit-in strike by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has threatened to intensify the agitation.

The presence of an ambulance along with a team of over 20 doctors added to panic in the AAP camp, which deputed its General Secretary Sanjay Singh to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a bid to sort out the issue.

After the meeting, Mr. Sanjay Singh claimed that the Centre had agreed to take up the current situation in Delhi with Lt. Governor Anil Baijal and find a solution to the row over governance.

Rajnath Singh is likely to meet the Prime Minister to discuss the situation even as Kejriwal wrote to Modi seeking his intervention.

“The IAS officers in Delhi have been on strike for the last three months and this had badly affected several (administrative) works. To get this strike ended, my three ministers and I have been camping in the Lt Governor office for the last five days, but your Lt. Governor is not taking any action”, Mr. Kejriwal wrote in the letter.

He said since the IAS officers in the Delhi administration are directly under the Central government’s control, he had written to the Prime Minister on Thursday also over the issue but got no response.

“The issues to be discussed in the NITI Aayog meet scheduled on June 17 will have to be executed by these IAS officers only... These IAS officers have been barred (by the Centre) to come to meetings called by Delhi Ministers. Tell me, will you be able to do any work if IAS officers stop coming to the meetings called by you?” Mr. Kejriwal said.

“I hope the IAS officers’ strike will be ended before June 17 so that I can attend the NITI Aayog meet that day,” he added.

Mr. Kejriwal, along with Mr. Sisodia and Cabinet ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai, has been camping in the Raj Niwas since Monday evening.

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Kejriwal's poser to Modi: will you be able to run the government if bureaucrats don’t turn up for meetings?

Mass support: AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Dilip Pandey (atop the vehicle) during a protest march in support of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s sit-in protest against the L-G in the Capital on Wednesday. Shiv Kumar Pushpakar SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Mass support: AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Dilip Pandey (atop the vehicle) during a protest march in support of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s sit-in protest against the L-G in the Capital on Wednesday. Shiv Kumar Pushpakar SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR  

Delhi Chief Minister seeks Prime Minister's intervention on fifth day of Raj Niwas sit-in.

Friday, day five of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwal and his Cabinet colleagues’ sit-in before the Raj Niwas, began with Mr. Kejriwal hoping Prime Minister Narendra Modi will intervene in ending the impasse between his government and the bureaucracy.

This, even as Mr. Kejriwal, in a video message, said he had written to Mr. Modi again, asking if he, despite being the Prime Minister, would be able to run his government if the bureaucracy didn’t adhere to his instructions of attending meetings.

“We have spent four nights waiting at the LG's [Lieutenant Governor] office but he hasn’t given us even four minutes of his time... hope the prime minister will pay some attention,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted on Friday morning.

The Chief Minister pointed out that this was the fourth day of his colleague and Health Minister Satyendar Jain’s hunger strike and the third day of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s.

In the video message, Mr. Kejriwal said he had written to Mr. Modi again and asked him what he would have done had he been in his shoes. 

“It’s been five days and instead of helping us ensure that the strike by IAS officers is brought to an end, you are standing by and letting even the Delhi Secretariat be taken over by leaders from your own party who have sat there in support of the bureaucracy’s strike,” he alleged.

 

Doctors visit Raj Niwas

Later in the day, a team of doctors met Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain who are on an indefinite fast.  The AAP leaders fear they would be forcefully evicted from the Raj Niwas. "Why r [are] they planning to take them forcefully? It is just 4 days. Both of them r fit. They r [are] fighting for the people of Delhi," Mr. Kejriwal tweeted.

AAP to launch campaign

In its attempt to take its “sit-in andolan” to people, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be launching a door-to-door signature campaign beginning Monday.

“We will reach out to one million households for a signature beginning Monday...demanding that the strike, which is crippling Delhi, be brought to an end, door delivery of ration and statehood for Delhi,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

The Chief Minister alleged that the current situation was due to the fact that the BJP had “nothing to say” in response to “the feats accomplished” by his government in sectors such as education and health over the last three years.

Citing delay "in seven significant and continuing government projects", including the desilting of drains, Mr. Kejriwal wrote to Mr. Modi on Tuesday, requesting that IAS officers allegedly striking work since mid-February, following the attack on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at the Chief Minister’s residence, be made to come back to work.

“We pray that you will step in for the sake of the people of Delhi and remedy the situation,” he wrote.

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AAP launches social media campaign

Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh with the AAP workers and CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat during a candlelight march at Rajghat on Thursday.

Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh with the AAP workers and CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat during a candlelight march at Rajghat on Thursday.  

Seeks approval of the proposed delivery of ration

From launching a social media campaign to taking out a candle march, the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday continued to demand an end to the agitation by Delhi government officers.

With Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three Ministers staging a sit-in protest inside Raj Niwas since Monday, AAP leaders came out in support of their demands stating that the Lieutenant-Governor end what they termed was the strike by officers.

They also asked for the approval of the proposed delivery of ration.

After carrying out a protest march to Raj Niwas on Wednesday, the AAP launched a social media campaign with the Twitter hashtag #ModijiForgiveDelhi.

The campaign invited people to share video messages asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene to end the “strike”.

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In Delhi, a tale of two dharnas

Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain at Raj Niwas.

Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain at Raj Niwas.   | Photo Credit: 14DEL MINISTERS

CM on one hand and BJP on the other continue to protest

As Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three Ministers continued to occupy a visitors’ room in Raj Niwas for the fourth day, a meeting that would have ordinarily taken place in the conference room next to the site of the dharna was shifted to the residential portion of the premises.

On Thursday, Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal chaired a meeting to discuss measures to control the ongoing spike in pollution. The meeting was attended by Environment and Forest Minister Imran Hussain, senior Delhi government officers and other stakeholders.

From photos released by Raj Niwas, the venue of the meeting was visibly different from the conference room. A government official who attended the meeting confirmed that the meeting took place not in a conference room, but in what looked like a dining room. The official added that attendees entered Raj Niwas from the back entrance, walking across a lawn and into the residence of the L-G.

Mr. Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain remained in the visitors’ room they have been in since Monday evening. The four Aam Aadmi Party leaders have said they will not leave till the L-G ends the strike by officers and clears the government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration. Officers have restricted themselves to written communication with the political executive in protest against the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs at Mr. Kejriwal’s residence in February. Raj Niwas and the officers have denied the strike.

No visitors allowed

Having received a change of clothes, their first since the sit-in began, the AAP leaders were not allowed to meet visiting family members. Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet that his brother had come from Pune and was not allowed in. The Chief Minister’s wife, Sunita Kejriwal, said in a tweet that she, her mother-in-law and the wives of Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain were also not allowed to enter Raj Niwas. During the day, doctors examined Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Jain, who are on indefinite fast. According to a spokesperson, Mr. Sisodia’s weight decreased from 88.5 kg at 7.30 a.m. to 86.4 kg as of 6.30 p.m.

At the same time, BJP leaders continued their sit-in outside the Chief Minister’s office in the Delhi Secretariat for a second day. BJP MP Parvesh Verma, MLAs Vijender Gupta, Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Jagdish Pradhan and suspended AAP MLA Kapil Mishra demanded a meeting with the Chief Minister, who they accused of striking work.

The third floor of the Secretariat had been taken over by the dharna, with banners hanging from railings. Mattresses had been brought in by the leaders and a TV provided by the General Administration Department, a senior official said. The leaders had asked for access to a washroom with a shower, but the official said there was no such facility available.

The BJP leaders had hung a banner from the roof of the building that read there was no strike at the Secretariat, but the Chief Minister was on holiday. The banner had been taken down soon after it was put up. Referring to the banner, Mr. Kejriwal tweeted, “Absolutely shocking. How was it allowed? Who allowed this to happen? Where was Police, Security, Bureaucracy? [sic]”.

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Two parallel protests rock New Delhi

AAP leaders and supporters with CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat participating in a protest at Raj Ghat.

AAP leaders and supporters with CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat participating in a protest at Raj Ghat.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Kejriwal’s sit-in continues for the fourth day; BJP protests outside CM’s house

As Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three Ministers occupied a visitors’ room in the Raj Niwas for the fourth day, BJP leaders continued their sit-in outside the Chief Minister’s office in the Delhi Secretariat for a second day.

A meeting chaired by Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal that would have ordinarily taken place in the conference room next to the site of the dharna was shifted to the residential portion of the premises.

The meeting held by Mr. Baijal to discuss measures to control the ongoing spike in pollution was attended by Environment and Forest Minister Imran Hussain, senior Delhi government officers and other stakeholders.

In the other part of the Raj Niwas, Mr. Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain remained in the visitors’ room. The four Aam Aadmi Party leaders have said they won’t leave till the L-G ends the “strike” by officers and clears the government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration.

Leaders change clothes

Having received a change of clothes, their first since the sit-in began, the AAP leaders were not allowed to meet visiting family members. Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet that his brother had come from Pune and was not allowed in. The Chief Minister’s wife, Sunita Kejriwal, said in a tweet that she and her mother-in-law were also not allowed to enter the Raj Niwas.

At the same time, BJP leaders continued their sit-in outside the Chief Minister’s office in the Delhi Secretariat for a second day. BJP MP Parvesh Verma, MLAs Vijender Gupta, Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Jagdish Pradhan and suspended AAP MLA Kapil Mishra demanded a meeting with the Chief Minister, who they accused of striking work.

The third floor landing of the secretariat had been taken over for the dharna, with banners hanging from railings. Mattresses had been brought in by the leaders and a television provided by the General Administration Department, a senior official said. The leaders had asked for access to a washroom with a shower, but the official said there was no such facility available.

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Speaker asks L-G to end bureaucrats’ strike

Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Wednesday jumped into the fray to attack Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal over the perpetrated IAS officers’ “strike” and lent his support to the demands of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues who continue to stage a sit-in at Raj Niwas.

In a letter to Mr. Baijal on Tuesday, Mr. Goel said that 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 “undeclared strike” by officers called off.

The Speaker said that when IAS officers were asked in the meetings of Assembly committees as to why they were not attending Ministers’ meetings, they said, “We [officers] are not going to these meetings as it is the decision of the IAS officers.”

“Is it not a strike? Do you [L-G] not think it is an attack on the interest of Delhi’s people? Do you not think it is an insult of people? The only reason behind all these things is the strike of IAS officers,” the Speaker wrote in his letter.

“Being a supreme administrator, you should get the undeclared strike called off while fulfilling your constitutional responsibilities so that people can breathe a sigh of relief,” Mr. Geol wrote in the letter.

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Ministers on strike, meetings cancelled

Four key meetings had to be called off

Four “important” meetings — two of which related to ironing out issues that continue to persist around the procurement of more buses both under the cluster scheme and by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) — were cancelled due to the non-availability of Cabinet Ministers over the last two days, government sources claimed on Wednesday.

According to government sources, among the remaining meetings which were cancelled due to the ongoing sit-in protest by CM Arvind Kejriwal and his Ministers at Raj Niwas, one pertained to a larger, inter-departmental audit of “significant policy proposals”.

This, even as sources in the bureaucracy alleged that the elected government was “cherry picking on members of the bureaucracy” based on paperwork “deliberately being misinterpreted”. Rule 17 of the Transaction of Business Rules, a source from the bureaucracy argued, pertained to “policy decisions made the level of Ministers”.

Reflects zero results

“When no policies are being made at the Ministerial or Cabinet level, paperwork revolving around the progress of such non-existent proposals will, obviously, reflect zero results,” said the source.

On Wednesday, the government source claimed, a pre-scheduled meeting each by the DTC, the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation and the Committee on Government Undertakings were cancelled.

The committee was supposed to audit the situation of power supply at a time when the peak demand threshold has been breached more than once.

Similarly, the government source claimed, a meeting, where several stakeholders were supposed to figure out the way forward in terms of route rationalisation – with the ostensible aim to increase the connectivity of State-run buses to rural areas — scheduled for Thursday was also cancelled.

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BJP stages counter-protest outside CM office

Delhi Congress chief also hits out at AAP govt, calls its protest ‘political drama’

To counter the sit-in protest by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at Raj Niwas, BJP leaders on Wednesday sat on a protest outside the CM’s office at the Delhi Secretariat which continued till late night.

‘No word of assurance’

Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta, along with MLAs Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Jagdish Pradhan and MP Pravesh Verma, were also present at the “dharna”.

Suspended Aam Aadmi Party MLA Kapil Mishra also participated.

“Whenever the Opposition has tried to raise the issue of water shortage, corruption and inefficiency in the Delhi Jal Boad, it was marshalled out of the House. Mr. Kejriwal has never given a word of assurance on DJB problems,” said Mr. Gupta.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, who led a protest march to Delhi Secretariat said, “It is dejecting to see the CM playing his favourite urban naxalite role to divert public attention from his failures to deliver water and power. The people of Delhi are facing acute water and power and are disgruntled with the Kejriwal government.”

Terming the CM’s sit-in protest as a “political drama”, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajay Maken said, “While the people of Delhi are thirsty, the CM who is also the DJB chairman, is sitting on a stage-managed dharna in an air-conditioned visitor’s room at Raj Niwas.”

Congress leader Sheila Dikshit said Mr. Kejriwal was not at all conscious of his constitutional duties and people are bearing the brunt of his “confrontational politics”.

Ms. Dikshit, a three-time Delhi Chief Minister, said it was “completely unacceptable” that the head of the government was sitting on a “dharna” at the L-G’s house when the city was reeling under severe water crisis and other problems.

(With PTI inputs)

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Kejriwal sit-in protest: Manish Sisodia joins indefinite fast

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his cabinet colleagues at Raj Niwas in New Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his cabinet colleagues at Raj Niwas in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For the second day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his three cabinet colleagues on Wednesday woke up inside Raj Niwas, where they have been staging a sit-in since Monday evening.

Mr. Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain have been demanding that Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal intervene to end what they term is an “illegal strike by officers.” The L-G and officers, on the other hand, have denied any strike.

The officers have restricted their communication with the political executive to the written form, in protest against the alleged attack on the Chief Secretary at the Chief Minister's residence in February by Aam Aadmi Party MLAs.

 

Having spent two nights in the visitors' room at Raj Niwas, Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet that Mr. Sisodia had joined and Mr. Jain, who is on indefinite hunger strike since Tuesday.

The Chief Minister added that will power was their biggest strength, saying the struggle would continue.

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AAP calls for show of strength

Party leaders to march to L-G house today; police gear up

With Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three Ministers staging a sit-in inside Raj Niwas since Monday, the Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday announced its leaders and workers would hold a protest outside Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal’s residence on Wednesday.

After a meeting of party leaders at the CM’s residence, AAP national secretary Pankaj Gupta said AAP leaders and workers would gather at Mr. Kejriwal’s house at 4 p.m. on Wednesday and then march towards Raj Niwas. The group would hold a demonstration there, he said.

‘Will press for demands’

AAP MLA from Greater Kailash and spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj added that the party’s MLAs, councillors and volunteers would press for the demands raised by Mr. Kejriwal and his Ministers.

Anticipating crowds, the Delhi Police had placed barricades around Raj Niwas on Monday. The entry on to roads leading to the L-G’s residence remained restricted on Tuesday, with a deployment of Delhi Police and Central Reserve Police Force.

A senior police officer said over 600 security personnel, including policemen from the reserve battalion and the North district, would be deployed on Wednesday. “We held a meeting to discuss the security arrangements and traffic management around Raj Niwas during the scheduled protest. The AAP workers or leaders will not be allowed to hold a protest at Raj Niwas,” said the police officer.

The officer added that police personnel in plain-clothes would also be deployed on Wednesday.

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Bureaucrats counter Delhi govt’s charges

Ask citizens to visit any public office

The Capital’s bureaucracy on Tuesday took to social media to counter the AAP government’s allegations that IAS officers were on a “strike”.

The hashtag “#Delhiatwork NoToStrike” was used to list the recent work done by them and stress the point that they were all at work despite allegations that they were on strike since the alleged attack on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.

The IAS AGMUT Association took to Twitter to give details about works done by officers of Delhi government. “Every office and officer has been working diligently. Facts speak for themselves,” the association tweeted with photos of officers working in their respective offices.

In another tweet, the association said, “Lies should not be spread. All officers are hard at work.”

“Officers are regularly attending office...Any citizen can go to any public dealing office to ascertain the truth,” the association said in a statement.

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Kejriwal, Delhi Ministers stay put at Raj Niwas in sit-in protest

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain after having spent the night at the Raj Niwas waiting room, Delhi, June 12, 2018

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain after having spent the night at the Raj Niwas waiting room, Delhi, June 12, 2018   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Want Lieutenant-Governor to intervene to end the four-month-long ‘strike’ by bureaucrats.

Having slept on the couch at Raj Niwas on Monday night, Delhi 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 is demanding that the L-G intervene to end a “four-month-long strike” by bureaucrats in the wake of the alleged attack on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs in February.

Scene outside the Delhi Lt. Governor’s residence Raj Niwas, where Delhi CM and others are sitting since yesterday, Delhi, June 12, 2018

Scene outside the Delhi Lt. Governor’s residence Raj Niwas, where Delhi CM and others are sitting since yesterday, Delhi, June 12, 2018   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

 

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 until the L-G met their demands: end the officers’ agitation, take action against those who struck work and clear 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,” Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet on Tuesday night.

‘Reach out to bureaucrats’

Though the Raj Niwas did not respond on Tuesday, it had said in a statement on Monday that 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, officers in the Delhi government had stopped attending meetings, other than Cabinet and some vital ones, as a mark of protest, restricting themselves to written communications with the political executive. They demanded an apology from the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.

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... There is no question of any officer in Delhi government being on strike.”

 

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

CM, Ministers stage sit-in at Raj Niwas

AAP MLAs stage protest outside Raj Niwas on Monday.

AAP MLAs stage protest outside Raj Niwas on Monday.  

Demand end to officers’ strike, doorstep delivery of ration

For over six hours and counting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three Cabinet Ministers staged a sit-in at Raj Niwas, saying they would not leave till Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal intervened to end the ongoing agitation of officers and approved the Aam Aadmi Party government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration.

Mr. Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Public Works Department and Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Labour Minister Gopal Rai attended a meeting with Mr. Baijal at 5.30 p.m. to press for their demands. At 6 p.m., Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet that they had asked the L-G to end the “strike” of IAS officers, punish those officers who struck work and approve the delivery of ration.

The officers have restricted themselves to written communication with the political executive since the alleged February 19 assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs at the Chief Minister’s residence. While the AAP dispensation has said that the officers are on strike, the L-G and officers have denied it.

CM, Ministers stage sit-in at Raj Niwas
 

Tweeting the copy of the letter signed by him and the Ministers, Mr. Kejriwal said: “Handed him this letter. LG refuses to take action. LG is under constitutional duty to act. Left wid no option, we have politely told LG that we will not leave till he acts on all points. We hv come out of his chamber n sitting in his waiting room [sic]”.

As of midnight, government sources said the Chief Minister and Ministers remained at the waiting room at Raj Niwas.

‘Dharna without reason’

Meanwhile, Raj Niwas termed the move “another protest in the sequence of a ‘dharna without reason’”, referring to a similar sit-in by AAP MLAs over the Mohalla Clinics proposal on August 30 last year.

In a statement, Raj Niwas alleged that Mr. Baijal was “threatened” by the Chief Minister during the meeting. Mr. Kejriwal and the Ministers demanded that the officers be “immediately summoned” at Raj Niwas and directions be given to them to end the “so-called strike”.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain in the waiting room at Raj Niwas on Monday.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, and Ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain in the waiting room at Raj Niwas on Monday.  

 

“In response, it was reiterated by the L-G that there is no strike by employees... 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 so far,” Raj Niwas said.

Mr. Baijal, who later left Raj Niwas in view of pre-scheduled meetings, according to the statement, advised the Chief Minister to “build the confidence of the employees at all levels” and “work out ways of addressing their genuine concerns”.

In the meantime, the AAP leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, and workers gathered outside Raj Niwas. The Delhi police barricaded the road and diverted the traffic outside Raj Niwas. A senior police officer said the police would not allow any AAP workers to enter Raj Niwas.

“We have deployed reserve police force to control any situation. No more AAP workers will be allowed to reach Raj Niwas to join protest,” said the officer.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Kejriwal said at the press conference that the allegations of the assault on the Chief Secretary were absolute lies and there was no need for him to apologise, which is what the officers have been demanding.

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Nine days of Delhi dharna: a recap

Arvind Kejriwal accuses PMO of stalling AAP govt.

Delhi Chief Minister addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.

Delhi Chief Minister addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarthy

The CBI is taking orders from BJP president Amit Shah, claims the Delhi Chief Minister

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday accused the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) of stalling the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s work by threatening officers. Mr. Kejrwial claimed that the officers are on strike for months with orders from the PMO.

“The officers have been on strike for four months. In private, the officers say there is no demand and that they are being threatened to continue the strike. It has been orchestrated by the PMO and coordinated by the L-G,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference at his residence, Mr. Kejriwal added that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are taking orders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

He listed out 14 cases filed against AAP Ministers by the CBI and the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), which answers to the L-G.

“What happened to all the cases?” asked Mr. Kejriwal, adding that the CBI and the ACB had been unable to find any proof of corruption.

Referring to the officers’ protest since February, Mr. Kejriwal said it was an “illegal strike” and added that he would ask Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to declare it so during a meeting on Monday evening.

The officers had launched a protest after Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly attacked by AAP MLAs at Mr. Kejriwal’s residence on February 19. While the officers say they are not on strike, they have been refusing to meet the political executive, apart from mandatory meetings like that of the Cabinet meetings.

Mr. Kejriwal said the officers’ actions were against the All India Service Conduct Rules and that he would ask the L-G to take action against officers for the violation.

He added that he would take up the government’s proposal to start doorstep delivery of ration during the meeting with the L-G.

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