AAP re­fuses to budge, Delhi L-G meets Ra­j­nath

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION - Sweta Goswami

New Delhi:

Delhi chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal and three of his cab­i­net col­leagues con­tin­ued their sit-in protest in­side the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor’s (L-G) of­fice for a fourth straight day on Thursday even as L-G Anil Bai­jal met home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh over the stand­off that has brought the Cap­i­tal’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to a stand­still.

Ke­jri­wal and three min­is­ters, deputy chief min­is­ter Man­ish Siso­dia, pub­lic works depart­ment min­is­ter Satyen­der Jain and ru­ral development min­is­ter Gopal Rai, have been camped at Raj Ni­was since Monday, and have re­fused to leave un­til the L-G or­ders IAS of­fi­cers posted in the Delhi gov­ern­ment to call off an al­leged strike.

Bai­jal briefed Singh about the protest, a home min­istry of­fi­cer said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

“The L-G also briefed the min­is­ter about the on­go­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an al­leged as­sault on chief sec­re­tary An­shu Prakash in Fe­bru­ary this year. Bai­jal also in­formed the min­is­ter about his com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the bu­reau­crats on the is­sue,” the min­istry of­fi­cial said.

The IAS Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion de­nied they were on strike and re­leased pho­to­graphs that pur­port­edly showed them work­ing in of­fices in­side the Delhi sec­re­tar- iat, which also houses the of­fice of the chief min­is­ter.

On Thursday, as Ke­jri­wal and his min­is­ters protested at the L-G’S of­fice, a meet­ing to dis­cuss Delhi’s ris­ing dust pol­lu­tion was held. The meet­ing was at­tended by the gov­ern­ment’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Im­ran Hussain and Prakash in at­ten­dance. This was the first im­por­tant meet­ing since the sit-protest started be­gan four days ago.

The CM has found sup­port from op­po­si­tion lead­ers such as Akhilesh Ya­dav, Te­jashvi Ya­dav, Si­taram Yechury, Sharad Ya­dav, Brinda Karat, Ka­mal Has­san and Sha­tru­gan Sinha, who all tweeted in favour of his protest.

Ke­jri­wal also wrote to Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi seek­ing his in­ter­ven­tion to re­solve the im­passe. “Due to strike, sev­eral works are be­ing af­fected. As L-G is do­ing noth­ing to end IAS of­fi­cers’ strike, Delhi gov­ern­ment and the peo­ple of Delhi re­quest you (PM) with folded hands to get the strike called off im­me­di­ately so that works of Delhi can re­sume,” his let­ter read.

Siso­dia wrote a sec­ond let­ter to the L-G, seek­ing an ap­point­ment. Ke­jri­wal’s wife Su­nita, who said she was stopped from meet­ing her hus­band and his three col­leagues, said that Jain’s health had de­te­ri­o­rated.

Chaos in the city’s bu­reau­cracy also threat­ened to es­ca­late with the Delhi Gov­ern­ment Em­ploy­ees As­so­ci­a­tion an­nounc­ing they would be­gin a protest in front of Prakash’s of­fice from Friday, de­mand­ing the re­struc­tur­ing of DASS (Delhi ad­min­is­tra­tive sub­or­di­nate ser­vices) and steno cadres of the gov­ern­ment.

Delhi’s BJP lead­ers have started a sim­i­lar sit-in protest out­side chief min­is­ter’s of­fice.

PTI

Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of Delhi Anil Bai­jal meets Union home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh in New Delhi on Thursday.

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