Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at the Lieutenant Governor’s office against the “strike” by IAS officers entered its eighth day on Monday. A week on since Kejriwal and his three Cabinet colleagues – Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and Labour Minister Gopal Rai – made the Raj Niwas their “Jantar Mantar”, little seems to have changed on the ground.
Also intertwined with the IAS officers’ strike are AAP’s demand for grant of complete statehood for Delhi and installation of CCTVs, which have further compounded their relationship with L-G Anil Baijal. Kejriwal, though, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention, there has been little response from the central government. Meanwhile, Kejriwal’s protest has turned out to be a stage for showcasing opposition unity as seen in the support extended by four CMs – West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Andhra Pradesh’s Chandrababu Naidu and Karnataka’s HD Kumaraswamy.
Here are the top 10 developments of the Delhi crisis:
1) From June 11, Kejriwal, along with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and Labour Minister Gopal Rai, began a sit-in inside the Lt Governor’s secretariat demanding that Anil Baijal issue orders to end the “strike” led by the IAS officers and take action against officials involved. Another of his demands was Centre’s nod to the Delhi government’s proposal to deliver ration to the poor at their home. Satyender Jain and Sisodia launch indefinite hunger strike.
2) In an interesting move, two days later, BJP launched a counter-protest against the sit-in by Kejriwal. Leading the protest, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said Kejriwal was betraying the people of Delhi. Hundreds of Delhi BJP workers marched towards the CM’s Office, holding placards. They also raised slogans like ‘Kejriwal drama band karo’ (Kejriwal stop doing drama).
3) With Kejriwal and his ministers continuing their protest at the LG’s office, hundreds of AAP leaders and workers marched to Raj Niwas on June 13. Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who resigned from the BJP recently and is a vocal critic of the ruling party, also joined AAP leaders and workers. During the protest march, party leaders and workers raised slogans against Baijal – “LG sahab, Delhi Chodo (LG, quit Delhi)”.
4) Asserting that an “Emergency-like” situation prevailed in the national capital, AAP sought President Ram Nath Kovind’s intervention in the Delhi crisis. AAP MP Sanjay Singh wrote to Kovind, seeking an appointment to inform him about the ongoing situation in Delhi. Singh said that he, along with all the AAP lawmakers from Delhi and Punjab, will brief Kovind on the IAS “strike” in Delhi.
5) On Day 4 of the sit-in protest, Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him, “with folded hands”, to intervene and end the agitation of the IAS officers. He also listed a number of instances to make his case that the protests — following the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash on February 20 — had affected administrative work. “This is the first strike by IAS officers in the history of India. People have started saying that the L-G and Centre are anchoring it… Only you and L-G can end this strike,” the AAP chief wrote in the letter.
6) With signs of breaking the deadlock looking bleak, Kejriwal announced that AAP workers would reach out to 10 lakh households to collect signatures “on this obstruction to Delhi government work, and on the issue of full statehood”. Meanwhile, AAP MP Sanjay Singh met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and claimed the Centre has agreed to take up the issue with the L-G.
7) Backing Kejriwal, four opposition chief ministers – West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Andhra Pradesh’s Chandrababu Naidu and Karnataka’s HD Kumaraswamy – held a joint press conference in Delhi and attacked the Centre after they were not allowed to meet Kejriwal at the L-G’s office. On the sidelines of the NITI Aayog meeting, the four CMs urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to solve the “constitutional crisis” in Delhi.
8) On Sunday, AAP members, along with Communist Party of India-Marxist activists, marched from Mandi House metro station towards the Prime Minister’s residence but were stopped by the police at Parliament Street.
9) At a press conference, IAS Association of the AGMUT cadre said they were not on strike and that they “do not feel safe attending all meetings”. Reaching out to the IAS officers for the first time since the alleged attack on chief secretary Anshu Prakash, Kejriwal assured them of safety and security. “I will ensure their safety and security with all powers and resources available at my command… the officers are a part of my family,” the Delhi CM said.
10) A petition was filed in the Delhi High Court by lawyer Hari Nath Ram, saying that taxpayers’ money was being wasted for a constitutional bargain by the CM from the L-G. Hearing the matter on Monday, the Delhi HC rapped the AAP government and asked who authorised the sit-in by Kejriwal at the L-G’s office. The next hearing is on June 22.