A week into the deadlock, there were signs of a thaw between the political and the permanent executive in Delhi on Monday, with the IAS AGMUT association welcoming Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s statement that he will ensure “safety and security” of all officers.
Even as it softened its stance by publicly reaching out to the embattled bureaucracy, AAP played its cards cautiously by putting the onus of mediating a truce on Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, with Kejriwal urging him to call a meeting on the issue.
The association, in a statement, said it was open to “formal discussions” with the CM — in a clear departure from its long-standing position that normalcy can be restored only if Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia issue an apology over the alleged February 19 assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.
Kejriwal has been on a sit-in at the L-G’s residence for the past week, demanding that bureaucrats end their “strike”. On Sunday, he had assured “safety and security” to all officers, toning down his demand that Baijal clamp down on the “strike” and punish officers concerned.
“Officers of GNCTD welcome Hon’ble CM’s appeal. We reiterate that we continue to be at work with full dedication and vigour. We look forward to concrete interventions for our security and dignity. We are open to formal discussions with Hon’ble CM on this matter,” said the statement.
Sisodia wrote to Baijal stating that the elected government was “happy” to initiate dialogue but talks should be held in the presence of Baijal as police and services come under him.
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“IAS officials have expressed their desire to meet the CM… We want to provide the best possible security to our officials. Since security and services is in your domain, we want you to be present in the meeting so we can provide assurances and you can do the same…,” Sisodia wrote.
Kejriwal tweeted: “I hope LG calls a meeting soonest to resolve this issue.” He also took a veiled jibe at the officers. “I wud urge Hon’ble PM to give green signal to them to end it now,” he tweeted, implying that they were being given instructions directly by the PM.
I hope LG calls a meeting soonest to resolve this issue. https://t.co/HtGYvLCOJ1
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 18, 2018
Raj Niwas remained tightlipped on the developments. The L-G continued to function out of his residential quarters. He held a meeting with DDA officials in a conference room, much smaller than the official one attached to which is the visitor’s room.
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AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said that by issuing public statements, both Kejriwal and the IAS association have taken “two steps forward”. “Now it is up to the Centre and L-G to end the impasse prevailing in the administration. We will also start a signature campaign tomorrow on the issue and get 10 lakh letters signed and send them to the PM. A much bigger rally will be taken out,” he said.
Asked about the Congress position on the impasse, Singh said, “We stood by them during the crisis in other states. But their position on the Delhi impasse will be written in black letters in the political history of the country.”
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, a founding member of AAP, also wrote to the IAS- AGMUT association saying Kejriwal’s statement was an “implicit apology”. He urged officials to resume normal communication with ministers to dispel the perception that their protest was linked to the larger political battle between the Delhi government and the Centre.