Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash on Tuesday registered a complaint with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal against two ruling Aam Aadmi Party MLAs for allegedly assaulting him. Prakash accused Ajay Dutt and Prakash Jharwal of manhandling him at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on Monday evening, reported News18.
The Chief Minister’s Office said such an incident never took place. “Delhi chief minister’s office strongly denies allegations by the chief secretary,” read a statement. “There was no incident of assault or attempted assault by any AAP MLAs.”
AAP leader Atishi Marlena said Prakash’s allegations were absurd and claimed he was acting on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s instructions, reported News18. “The BJP has stooped very low in disrupting governance in Delhi through the lieutenant governor and officers,” said Marlena. “If the chief secretary can make such wild allegations, one can imagine the kind of obstacles that are being created in AAP government’s work by the BJP through the officers.”
The party leader added that the chief secretary had refused to answer the MLAs about how 2.5 lakh families were allegedly not given rations in January because of faulty implementation of Aadhaar. “The chief secretary refused to answer questions saying that he was answerable only to the lieutenant governor and not to the MLAs and the chief minister. He even used bad language against some MLAs and left without answering any questions,” said Marlena.
The Home Ministry has sought a report from the lieutenant governor on the incident. Prakash met Home Minister Rajnath Singh around 3 pm.
The Delhi Administrative Subordinate Services has threatened to go on strike if those at fault are not arrested. “We have urged the lieutenant governor to take legal action against those responsible,” DN Singh, president of Delhi Administrative Subordinate Services, told ANI. “This is like a constitutional crisis, never seen such a thing happen in the past many years.”
Condemning the incident, the IAS Officers’ Association, Delhi, said, “The appalling and shocking physical assault meted out to the head of the administration of Delhi, in the form of blows on the head, amounting to threat to life and physical safety, is deplorable.”
The association urged the governor and the Centre to act against the perpetrators, and said the “incident amounts to functional crisis and breakdown of governance”. Though officers will continue to work “in public interest”, they will not work beyond the office hours or attend meetings outside the office till the incident is resolved, they added.
BJP demands Kejriwal’s resignation
Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party leader and MLA OP Sharma said the chief secretary should file an official complaint. “He should go to the Delhi Police and file an FIR against the MLAs,” said Sharma. “This is absolutely unacceptable in a democracy.”
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the incident showed that a constitutional crisis looms over Delhi. “AAP and anarchy have become synonymous. It has no relations with Constitution,” he said. “Such CM [chief minister] has no moral responsibility to stay on the post. He must resign immediately.”
Delhi Congress Vice President Sharmistha Mukherjee demanded a thorough inquiry into the incident. “If the chief secretary’s complaint is found to be true, the MLAs should receive tough punishment,” Mukherjee added.