Kejriwal continues sit-in protest, accuses BJP of instigating IAS officers

Kejriwal continues sit-in protest, accuses BJP of instigating IAS officers
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New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his three Cabinet colleagues continued their sit-in protest at the Lt Governor’s (LG) office on Saturday with the AAP preparing to launch a “march” to the Prime Minister’s residence on Sunday as the stalemate continued over the six-day long tussle over the IAS officers “strike”.

Kejriwal accused the BJP of putting pressure on IAS officers and said their “strike” was being instigated by it. Aam Aadmi Party workers and leaders will march from Mandi House metro station to the Prime Minister’s residence.

AAP spokesperson Pankaj Gupta said: “Delhi is all set to launch a mass protest like the one we did which changed the political picture of Delhi.”

He said not only the party workers but the common man of Delhi will also take part in the march at 4 p.m. on Sunday. “We have tried all we can, but they are not ready to listen,” he added.

The announcement came after Kejriwal said that IAS officers were under pressure and their “strike” was being instigated by the BJP. He also asked Congress President Rahul Gandhi to clear his stand whether he was with the BJP or the people of Delhi.

He also claimed that his government does not enjoy as much power as former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit did.

“I do not even have the power to transfer a peon, but Dikshit had the power to transfer the officers and even to arrest them on corruption charges,” he said.

Accusing the BJP of “instigating” the IAS strike, he said: “BJP is forcing the officers to continue the strike. The party is under pressure as the AAP government in Delhi is working hard. I am here for the people of Delhi and will ensure that things will change.”

Kejriwal, along with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and cabinet ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai, has been camping in the Raj Niwas — the official accommodation-cum-office of Lt Governor — since Monday evening.

Sisodia and Jain have been on indefinite fast for the past four and five days respectively.

“We are here for past six days. We are sitting here in helplessness. The IAS officers in Delhi are on a strike for past three months. They are coming to the office to clear files. There are not taking part in any official meetings.

“They don’t pick up phones, reply to our texts even in emergency situations. They don’t come for field inspections with the ministers. A government cannot function like this. We are sitting here to end that strike,” Kejriwal added.

On the accusation that his strike has paralyzed the governance, he said: “The government is not functioning due to the IAS strike and not due to our sit-in. We are compelled to take this step.”

If Kejriwal continues his sit-in on Sunday, he possibly would miss an important meeting of NITI Aayog scheduled on Sunday which will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended among others by chief ministers of various states.

The AAP has been demanding a direction to the IAS officers working in the Delhi administration to end their undeclared strike, action against officers who have “struck work” for four months and approval to his government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of ration to the poor.

The party has also planned a door-to-door campaign starting from June 18 to collect signatures of at least 10 lakh families in support of their demand for full statehood to Delhi.

Kejriwal’s protest has garnered support from West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Bihar’s Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, actors-turned-politicians Kamal Hassan and Shatrughan Sinha.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are also supporting the sit-in.

IANS