Nine days on, AAP leaders end protest at L-G’s office2 min read . Updated: 19 Jun 2018, 11:59 PM IST
CM Kejriwal says fight will continue until Delhi gets the status of full statehood
New Delhi: The stand-off between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government and lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal concluded on Tuesday with AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues ending their protest at the L-G’s office on the ninth day.
AAP called off the protest after senior officials, including the chief secretary, attended meetings called by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other cabinet ministers, even as Baijal asked Kejriwal to attend meetings with officers in the Delhi secretariat to address concerns of both sides.
“This fight will continue until Delhi gets the status of full statehood. We have nothing against the officers as 99% of them are good people. We have worked with them to improve governance in Delhi. They were just a front for interference by central government and the L-G," Kejriwal said while addressing party volunteers, after coming out of the L-G’s office.
Kejriwal, Sisodia and cabinet ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai had staged a sit-in protest at the L-G’s office since 11 June demanding the L-G’s intervention to end the four-month strike of officials and also approve the government’s scheme for the doorstep delivery of food items. Sisodia and Jain, who were on indefinite hunger strike, were discharged from the hospital and resumed work on Tuesday.
AAP leaders alleged that officers in Delhi have been on strike and have been boycotting meetings with state ministers since an alleged assault on the chief secretary. They claimed that the strike was being orchestrated by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the L-G.
“The L-G stated that he was glad that the chief minister had tweeted an appeal to the officers assuring them of safety and security in their interactions with the elected government. The L-G observed that he has been informed that the officers have also welcomed the appeal and they are awaiting the chief minister’s presence at the secretariat to hold discussions," the L-G’s office said.
“All senior officers, including the chief secretary, were present for the meetings that were called today. Our fight was not against officers. There was a lot of development work that was stuck because there were no meetings between officers and ministers," Sisodia said at a press conference.
To end the impasse, the administrative services association on Tuesday asked the government to convene meetings at the secretariat.
Sisodia said the government will look at options to get approval for their scheme for the doorstep delivery of food items.
With AAP calling off its protest, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who were holding a parallel demonstration outside Kejriwal’s office, also called off their strike.
AAP had received support from other opposition parties, including the Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (Secular), the Left parties, the Telugu Desam Party and the Samajwadi Party, on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused an urgent hearing on a plea seeking a direction to declare the “sit-in demonstration" at the L-G’s office by Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues as “unconstitutional". “We will list it on reopening of the court (in July)," a two-judge vacation bench of justices S.A. Nazeer and Indu Malhotra said. This comes a day after the Delhi high court listed a similar plea against the protest led by Kejriwal for hearing on 22 June.
Aditi Singh and PTI contributed to this story.