Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday called off his nine-day sit-in at the office of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to protest against an alleged strike by Delhi IAS officers. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said the sit-in had been called off after bureaucrats started attending meetings at the Secretariat.
Kejriwal and three Cabinet colleagues had been on a sit-in protest in Baijal’s office since June 11, demanding that the Lt Governor intervene in ending the alleged strike by IAS officers, and grant approval for the doorstep ration delivery scheme. Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain had also started a hunger strike and were hospitalised. Both were discharged Tuesday.
According to Sisodia, IAS officers attended several meetings Tuesday, following which Kejriwal left the waiting room at the Lt Governor’s office.
After leaving the Lt Governor’s office, Kejriwal went to his house immediately and addressed a gathering of MLAs and party volunteers. “The protest was a battle for democracy as the PM was trying to infringe on the federal structure of the country by sponsoring the IAS officers’ strike,” he said. He also said that 99 per cent officers had worked for the betterment of Delhi but the battle will end only when Delhi is granted full statehood.
Senior AAP leaders said that the sit-in and protest marches that followed have given the party a clear issue to contest the 2019 general elections.
Earlier in the day, Lt Governor Baijal, in his first communication to those protesting since the sit-in began, requested the Chief Minister to meet officers “urgently” to address concerns of both sides through dialogue. The letter was written in response to Sisodia’s request to Baijal on Monday for a meeting between the government and bureaucrats to end the impasse.
A statement from Baijal’s office said: “Hon’ble LG requested Hon’ble CM to urgently meet the officers in the Secretariat so that apprehensions and concerns of both sides can be suitably addressed through dialogue in the best interest of the people of Delhi.”