Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers stage sit-in at LG office
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, along with his cabinet colleagues, visited Lt. Governor Anil Baijal on Monday and decided to stay in his office until their demands were accepted. The Raj Niwas called it a “protest without reason”. Kejriwal wanted Baijal to issue a direction to IAS officers to end their “strike” and also sought action against the officers, who have struck work for “four months”. He was also demanding approval to the proposal for doorstep delivery of ration. “LG refuses to take action. LG is under constitutional duty to act. Left with no option, we have politely told the LG that we will not leave till he acts on all points. We have come out of his chamber and sitting in his waiting room,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Calling it an “unprecedented move”, the LG’s office said the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, along with two ministers, “remained defiant and continued to pressurise that the officers must be immediately summoned to Raj Niwas and the so-called ‘agitation’ of officers be called off, and sought that immediate approval to proposal for doorstep delivery of rations be given”. The LG said he had already spoken to officers in this regard and the “insistence to summon them is not desirable”. “Since the Chief Minister and Ministers refused to listen to this suggestion and as the LG had pre-scheduled appointments at his residence, he had no option but to leave the office,” a statement from the Raj Niwas said, terming the protest as a “dharna without reason”.
The Chief Minister had sought a meeting with the LG. He went to the Raj Niwas with Cabinet Ministers Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia. “In the meeting, the LG was threatened by Kejriwal, who demanded that the officers should be immediately summoned at Raj Niwas and directions should be given to end the so-called ‘strike’. “In response, it was reiterated by the LG that there is no strike by the employees of GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi),” the statement read. Baijal said that during his continued interactions with the officers, “it has been informed that the atmosphere of mistrust and fear continues and no sincere attempts to resolve the differences have been made so far”. The LG also advised Kejriwal to build the confidence of the employees at all levels and to work out ways of addressing their genuine concerns, according to the statement. On the issue of the file on doorstep delivery of rations, the LG informed Kejriwal that it was lying with the Minister for Civil Supplies for nearly three months. “Hence, it will only be appropriate to expedite the matter of taking up the proposal with the Government of India at the earliest as pointed out by the Law Department, GNCTD, that such a scheme requires prior approval of the Central government under the National Food Security Act, 2013,” the statement said.
After the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, the Chief Minister individually and along with his Cabinet colleagues, had met the LG a few times, seeking his help to resolve the issue. “The LG has repeatedly advised the Chief Minister and his colleagues to reach out to the government employees and address their concerns. It is unfortunate that despite such advice, at least in the perception of government employees, no significant attempts have been made to restore their trust,” the Raj Niwas said.
According to the LG, the officers told him that no sincere efforts had been made to assure the officers that their respect and dignity will be protected and they will not be intimidated, physically or verbally assaulted and threatened. Baijal pointed out that the Budget Session 2018 was held and passed with active cooperation of the officers concerned. He said that he had been informed that the officers were attending the meetings of urgent public importance, and the Secretariat was working as were the field officers and organisations. On the issue of officers not giving answers in the assembly on Reserved Subjects, Baijal said: “Three senior officers have approached the Delhi High Court seeking relief against coercive action by the Legislative Assembly for following instructions of the Government of India on matters related to Reserved Subjects.