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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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 7:04:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/stalemate-between-aap-govt-bureaucracy-continues/article24196295.ece

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