Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Tuesday called off his nine-day sit-in at the LG’s office after IAS officers started attending meetings with ministers, which the AAP chief termed as a “small victory”.
Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia said that the protest inside Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office “cannot” lead to an approval of doorstep delivery of ration proposal from the LG, one of the key issues behind the sit-in.
AAP supporters cheered Kejriwal as he came out of the LG’s office and later he was given a welcome at his residence where he addressed party workers.
“If the LG has prompted the strike by the IAS officers, it is very unfortunate. It is a small victory. Ninety-nine per cent of the IAS officers are very good. We have done a lot in power and water sectors and we could not have done this alone,” he told the party workers.
“But some officers in private told us that they were being pressurised not to work with the AAP government. We were silent for the last four months over the IAS officers’ strike. But we wanted to resolve the issue. That is why we felt that the matter should be brought before the public. The battle for Delhi’s statehood will continue,” the chief minister said.
Sisodia, in a hurriedly-called press briefing, said that the sit-in was “not a dharna” as they were “waiting to meet the LG.” The deputy chief minister said several meetings, attended by IAS officers, were held during the day.
Six IAS officers, including Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, attended key meeetings with AAP ministers, he said.
Sisodia claimed that some officers have told him that they had pressure from the top but now they (officers) “received the nod from the top” to attend meetings with AAP ministers.
The bureaucrats have been at loggerheads with the AAP dispensation following the alleged assault on the chief secretary in February.
Kejriwal, Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Labour Minister Gopal Rai had started a sit-in protest at the LG’s office on June 11 over their demands, including a direction to the IAS officers to end their “strike” and an approval to doorstep delivery of ration proposal.
Sisodia and Jain, who were on a hunger strike and were hospitalised after their health deteriorated, were discharged this morning from the LNJP Hospital.
“It was not a dharna. We were waiting to meet the lieutenant governor,” the deputy chief minister said.
“Sitting inside the LG’s office cannot resolve the issue of doorstep delivery of ration. I spoke to the chief minister and Gopal Rai, and they have agreed that they will come out of the LG’s office,” Sisodia said.
The move came after Baijal, in his first communication to Kejriwal since he began a sit-in at his office, today wrote to the chief minister, asking him to meet officers urgently to address concerns of both sides.
Baijal shot off a letter to Kejriwal in response to his Sisodia’s communication in which the latter had asked for a meeting between the government and the bureaucrats to end the impasse.
Sisodia said that today’s development indicates that officers are returning to meetings with ministers while asserting that he had also asked some officers why they were not attending meetings.
“I was told by some of them that there was nod from the top to avoid meetings with our ministers. Now they have been allowed to hold meetings,” he said.
“The officers have now started attending meetings. The LG is not meeting ministers to discuss doorstep delivery of ration so it is not a good thing to remain at the LG’s office as the LG has become so arrogant that he doesn’t want to meet us,” he claimed.
Noting that it is “good thing” that officers are attending meetings, he said,” I wanted to tell you about most of issues which were stuck due to strike, have been resolved today.”
Asked about officers’ demand to hold meeting with the chief over their safety and dignity, Sisodia said that “our meetings with the officers will be conducted on a daily basis”.
He said that “for the last three months, we have been saying that our fight was not with the officers”.