New Delhi, Delhi’s ruling AAP on Sunday held a march to support Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three of his cabinet colleagues, who have been holding a sit-in at the LG office for the last one week, even as the four non-BJP Chief Ministers met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to immediately resolve the crisis.
Kejriwal and his colleagues have been demanding that Lt. Governor Anil Baijal direct IAS officers to end their “strike” but the Delhi IAS Association denied the allegations of not working, though saying they need a “culture of trust”.
The four Chief Ministers – West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Karnataka’s H.D. Kumaraswamy and Andhra Pradesh’s N. Chandrababu Naidu – met on Saturday to discuss a strategy to support to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader. They had also visited Kejriwal’s residence and met his family.
“I along with the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have requested the Prime Minister to resolve the problems of the Delhi government immediately,” tweeted Banerjee, who was here to attend the meeting of NITI Aayog’s Governor Council.
The meeting, chaired by Modi, was not attended by Kejriwal among others.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who participated in the AAP’s march to Prime Minister’s residence, accused the Modi government of using the Governor’s office to destabilise the non-BJP state governments as well as to install BJP governments despite the saffron party not winning the mandate.
“Joining the protest rally to the Prime Minister’s residence today to express serious condemnation over the manner in which federalism, a fundamental feature of our Constitution, is being undermined by this BJP Central government,” he said in a statement.
Kejriwal, along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Cabinet ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai, is camping at Raj Niwas since Monday demanding a direction to the IAS officers working in the Delhi administration to end their undeclared strike.
He also wants the Central government to approve his government’s proposal to deliver ration to the poor at their houses.
Meanwhile, the Delhi IAS Association said they are totally neutral towards all political parties but need assurances on their safety.
“Cameras and recording cannot ensure my security. No one has assured us of our security and safety. There has been no attempt from the government to reach out to us so that we can feel safe,” IAS Association Secretary Manisha Saxena told the media here.
“We all had various experiences of assault. We will not attend a meeting if we are not feeling safe. We have gone out of the way to ensure that public do not suffer, their work does not suffer, but we will not work at the cost of our life.
“We don’t go to places where we don’t feel safe. We need a culture of trust to work,” she added.
The officers said they are feeling unsafe after the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.
The IAS Officers’ Association of AGMUT cadre, in a statement, also termed as “misinformation” the claim that they were on strike, saying “we reiterate that all our officers and officials, all IAS officers, are working with full vigour and dedication”.
Kejriwal later on Sunday assured the IAS officers of their safety and security and urged them to “return to work” and attend ministers’ meetings.
“I wish to assure them that I will ensure their safety and security with all my powers and resources available at my command. I have given similar assurances earlier also to many officers who have been meeting me privately. I reiterate it today,” he said in a letter posted on his Twitter account.
However, the BJP slammed Kejriwal for “creating drama to further his political ambitions” with his sit-in protest.
In a letter addressed to Kejriwal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Delhi unit leaders and rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra said: “You have done everything in your power to shrug off any responsibility that comes with the position you hold, we are writing to you with a hope that you would have your conscience awakened to your moral responsibility…
“After the incidence of beating up the Chief Secretary, officers have refused to meet you at your residence, while you have been absent from your office.”