Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came under fierce criticism on Monday for leading a dharna with outside supporter Congress saying a government cannot be run from the streets and opposition BJP calling the protest “anarchic and a gimmick”.
In an unprecedented action that put his government on a collision course with the Delhi Police, Mr. Kejriwal and his ministers began a dharna outside Rail Bhavan demanding action against police officials who refused to carry out a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi last week.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde asked Mr. Kejriwal to maintain the dignity of the office he holds.
“He should maintain ‘garima’ (dignity) of the chair of Chief Minister and wait till the judicial probe is completed. After all he is a Chief Minister...,(which is) a high post. He should cooperate,” Mr. Shinde told reporters in Delhi.
AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh said the bureaucrat-turned-activist-turned politician must realise that no Government can be run by staging dharnas (sit-ins).
“Kejriwal must understand that a Government is run through Assemblies or Parliament and from the streets of any city,” he told reporters in Bhopal.
It was the Delhi Police’s duty to maintain law and order in the national capital, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said. “Will the police garland him if the honourable Chief Minister of Delhi wants to sit on a dharna without permission, which can disrupt peace?” he asked.
Both Mr. Kejriwal and the AAP should not interfere in the working of the Delhi Police which should be allowed to do its duty, said Mr. Singh, whose party is extending outside support to the 24-day-old Government formed by the fledgling outfit.
AICC secretary Sanjay Nirupam asked Mr. Kejriwal to stop indulging in “drama” and instead concentrate on governance.
Mr. Nirupam said that Mr. Kejriwal as a Chief Minister could resolve issues by negotiating with the Centre.
His view was shared by BJP.
“The situation we have seen today on the streets of Delhi is anarchic. This is a mock-fight between AAP and its ally Congress. Such an agitation -- which is taking place near Rajpath where the Republic Day rehearsals are on -- affects the aam admi (common man) and both the parties are responsible for it,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She said the issues being flagged by AAP are important but the manner in which it has gone about it is not acceptable.
“This is a government which is like a fish out of water in the Delhi secretariat and is hence out on the streets reliving its activist days rather than running the administration,” Ms. Sitharaman said.