NEW DELHI: As the sit-in by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and three ministers over IAS officers’ “strike” completed its third day on Wednesday, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia began an indefinite strike and the AAP vowed to continue its struggle after its leaders and MLAs marched towards the L-G office.
Meanwhile, Lt Governor Anil Baijal met Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba to discuss the political situation in the national capital as Kejriwal and ministers have stayed put at the waiting room of L-G Secretariat over their demands since Monday evening.
Baijal did not come to his office for the second consecutive day, sources said.
Kejriwal alleged on Twitter that the BJP-led central government was using IAS officers as a “tool” to provoke “rebellion against an elected government”.
Central govt using IAS officers as a tool to provoke rebellion against an elected govt https://t.co/TVNxbskEFD
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) 1528872904000
The AAP government’s demands to the L-G include direction to IAS officers to end their “strike”, action against those who have struck work for “four months”. It has also asked the L-G to approve the proposal for doorstep delivery of rations.
Kejriwal has already said that they will not leave the L-G office until their demands are met. The Aam Aadmi Party has threatened to stage a “dharna” at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office on Sunday if solution to the current crisis was not found this week.
Meanwhile, to counter Kejriwal and his ministers’ sit-in, BJP leaders and rebel AAP legislator Kapil Mishra also sat on a dharna at the chief minister’s office against the “non-performance” of the AAP dispensation.
Leader of opposition in Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta and MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the sit-in would continue till their demands were met by the AAP government.
Meanwhile, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha said a prime minister like Atal Bihari Vajpayee would have held talks with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to break the ongoing impasse as he took a dig at the BJP leadership, saying he had no regrets for not working with these “small time leaders”.
Joining the protest march of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which started from Kejriwal’s residence, Sinha expressed solidarity with the Delhi CM over the issues raised by him.
Kejriwal tweeted from the L-G office in the morning, seeking to know whether it was “possible for IAS officers to return to work without green signal from PMO (Prime Minister’s Office)?”
“Aren’t IAS officers merely tools being used by Modi govt to scuttle good work being done by Del govt?”
In another tweet, Kejriwal said their struggle continues to clear “hurdles” in Delhi’s development.
दिल्ली वालों के कामों में पैदा की जा रही अड़चनों को दूर करवाने के लिए मनीष सिसोदिया जी ने भी अनिश्चितक़ालीन अनशन शु… https://t.co/a9KaozxlVb
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) 1528857573000
Announcing on Twitter, where Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues have been quite active since the beginning of their sit-in at L-G office at 6pm on Monday, Sisodia said he too has joined Satyendar Jain in sitting on an indefinite hunger strike at the L-G office.
“Today, I am also sitting on an indefinite hunger strike to ensure that Delhiites get their right and also get their pending works cleared. Satyendar Jain’s hunger strike is continuing since yesterday…” Sisodia tweeted in Hindi.
In the evening, thousands of AAP leaders and workers marched to the L-G’s office where Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues had been staging a sit-in since Monday evening.
During the protest march, party leaders and workers raised slogans against the lieutenant governor — “LG sahab, Delhi Chodo (LG, quit Delhi)”.
Rajya Sabha MP and senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that if the IAS officers give assurance in writing to end their strike and resume work, the AAP will appeal the chief minister and his colleagues to end their sit-in at the L-G office.
He said that the party would take out a candle light march tomorrow. Sources said that since sit-in has begun, the L-G office has been providing tea and snacks and facilities to Kejriwal and his ministers while food is allowed from outside the Raj Niwas.
Delhi assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel also attacked Lt Governor Anil Baijal and lent his support to the demands of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers.
In a letter to Baijal on Tuesday, Goel said that the work of Delhi’s development has been affected for the last few months, which was a “well-planned conspiracy” and asked him to get “undeclared strike” by officers called off.
According to the AAP government, officers have not been attending meetings with the ministers and not picking up their calls due to which government work for people was suffering.
Officers have gone on a “partial strike” since the alleged assault on chief secretary Anshu Prakash on the intervening night of February 19-20, it said.
The L-G’s office has slammed Kejriwal’s sit-in, saying it was one more “dharna without reason”.