The impasse between AAP and Lt Governor Anil Baijal showed no signs of an end as Delhi saw a day of protests and counter-protests on Wednesday. Workers led by AAP leaders marched to the L-G’s office where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues have been staging a sit-in since Monday evening over the “strike” by IAS officers, the BJP, led by its Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari, also launched a counter-protest against the ruling party’s actions. Here is all you need to know about the latest flashpoint between AAP and the Lt. Governor:
What are the reasons behind which AAP is protesting?
While the tussle between AAP and the bureaucracy has been going on for a year, it received fresh momentum this February after an alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP leaders at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence. Following the assault, the IAS association, as a mark of protest, has reportedly skipped routine meetings with ministers but claimed they have not suspended work. Another of AAP’s demands is approval of the proposal for doorstep delivery of rations.
Also intertwined along with the above issues are AAP’s demand for grant of complete statehood for Delhi and installation of CCTVs, which have further compounded its relationship with Baijal.
From Monday night, 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 L-G Anil Baijal issue orders to end the “strike” led by the IAS officers and take action against officials involved.
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What happened today?
On Wednesday, hundreds of AAP leaders and workers marched to the L-G’s office (Raj Niwas). Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who resigned from the BJP recently and a vocal critic, 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)”.
Rajya Sabha MP and senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the party would take out a candlelight march on Thursday, adding that if the matter was not sorted by Sunday, its leaders and workers would stage a dharna at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
For how many days have AAP been protesting?
The sit-in by Kejriwal, Sisodia, Jain and Gopal Rai at the official accommodation-cum-office of Lt Governor Anil Baijal entered its third day on Wednesday. The Delhi Chief Minister has made it clear that he and his colleagues would not leave Baijal’s office until their demands were met. On Wednesday, deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia launched an indefinite hunger strike. Satyender Jain has already been on a hunger strike from Tuesday.
Why has AAP sought a meeting with President?
AAP said an “Emergency-like” situation prevailed in the national capital and has sought President Ram Nath Kovind’s intervention. AAP MP Sanjay Singh has written 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.
How have BJP and Congress reacted?
In an interesting move, the BJP on Wednesday launched a counter-protest against the sit-in protest by Kejriwal. Leading the protest, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said Kejriwal was betraying the people of Delhi. “He betrayed them in 2014, then in 2015 and now again he is betraying them on all the promises he made to the people of the city,” Tiwari said. 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).
Meanwhile, Congress leader and former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit said Kejriwal was not at all conscious of his constitutional duties and people of Delhi were bearing the brunt of his “confrontational politics”. Dikshit further said it was “completely unacceptable” that the head of the government was sitting on a “dharna” at the Lt Governor’s house when the city was reeling under severe water crisis and other problems.
What has the IAS Association said?
The IAS Association has denied the allegations, saying that reports of them striking work were “baseless and false”. “All officers, including IAS officers, are working with full vigour and dedication,” a statement issued by the association said.