AAP leaders march to L-G office, Yashwant Sinha joins protest

The fight between the Delhi government and the Lt Governor over IAS officers’ “strike” intensified on Wednesday with thousands of AAP leaders and workers marching to the L-G’s office where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues had been staging a sit-in since Monday evening.

Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who resigned from the BJP recently, also joined AAP leaders and workers outside the chief minister’s Civil Lines residence from where the protest march proceeded to the L-G’s office. Addressing the AAP gathering, Sinha expressed solidarity with Kejriwal and the AAP in their “struggle”.

“If former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were there, he would have directed the home minister to find a solution to the crisis, but the present dispensation is sleeping,” Sinha said, adding that the entire country was concerned with the situation in Delhi. “It would be better for the country if a solution to the crisis in Delhi is found at the earliest,” Sinha said. The AAP government’s demands to the L-G include a 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. The IAS officers’ association has maintained that no officer is on strike and no government work has been affected.

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. “It’s an Emergency-like situation in Delhi. The entire work of the Delhi government is crippled due to strike by IAS officers for past four months,” Singh said, adding that the Lt Governor was working at the behest of the Modi government. He said that the party would take out a candle light march on Thursday, adding that if the matter was not sorted by Sunday, its leaders and workers would stage a dharna at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and resort to a massive agitation.

Supporting the Delhi government’s demands, Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has written to Lt Governor Anil Baijal attacking him for the “well-planned conspiracy” that has affected work in Delhi over the last few months. In his letter, Goel said that when IAS officers were asked in the meetings of assembly committees as to why they were not attending ministerial meetings, they said, “It is the decision of IAS officers.” “Is it not strike? Don’t you (L-G) think it is an attack on the interest of Delhi’s people? Being the supreme administrator, you should get this undeclared strike called off while fulfilling your constitutional responsibilities,” Goel told the L-G.

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "@ArvindKejriwal, CM of Delhi is sitting in a dharna in LG's office for the last few days in the capital city of the country. Elected CM must get due respect.”