Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and three of his ministers have been sitting at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office for over 19 hours to protest against an alleged strike by bureaucrats in the state. One of the ministers, Satyendar Jain, began an indefinite hunger strike on Tuesday morning.

The ministers have been at the office since 5.30 pm on Monday, when they met Baijal and asked him to instruct the protesting officers to resume work.

The government claims that Indian Administrative Service bureaucrats have been on a protest since February, when two Aam Aadmi Party MLAs allegedly assaulted Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash during a meeting at Kejriwal’s residence. The IAS Association, however, has refuted the claim.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain spent the night at Baijal’s office with Kejriwal.

The chief minister said that he and his ministers were left with no option but to stage a sit-in as the lieutenant governor was paying no heed to their demands. In a video statement, he said his government has been requesting Baijal since February 23 to direct IAS officers to return to work and has even written letters to him.

“Yesterday, we met him again and told him that we will go from here only after getting out demands fulfilled,” Kejriwal said in the video. “We are not sitting here for ourselves. We are sitting here or you [Delhi residents] and for schools, water, mohalla clinics so that people of Delhi can get facilities.”

Sisodia tweeted at 6.12 am that the ministers were still there in the waiting room of the office. “We hope today you’ll get time from your busy schedule to resolve these three issues,” he wrote. “Till then we are waiting.” The AAP ministers’ have asked Baijal to get the officers to end their strike, take action against them, and approve the plan to deliver ration at citizens’ doorsteps.

Kejriwal retweeted the post and wrote: “My dear Delhiites, good morning. Struggle continues.”

The ministers told Baijal in a letter that the government might invoke provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act against the bureaucrats if necessary.

Several AAP MLAs and party leaders and workers also camped near the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and the police barricaded the area, PTI reported.

Baijal’s office issued a statement on Monday evening, claiming he had been “threatened” to summon officers and ask them to end their strike immediately. The statement called the AAP leaders’ protest “dharna without reason”.

Meanwhie, the IAS Association claimed that no officer was on strike and no work had been affected, IANS reported. “The concerned officers have been attending all Cabinet meetings, statutory meetings and meetings of importance affecting the public,” said the association’s secretary Manisha Saxena. “They have also been regularly briefing the ministers for Assembly questions. If the officers had been on strike, the Budget could not have been passed and the Budget Session could not have been held.”

However, she accepted that the officers were not attending routine meetings called by the ministers. “The reasons being that they [ministers] have failed till date to give any assurance regarding safety, security, dignity and respect to the officers, including women officers,” she added.

On Monday, Kejriwal said at a press conference that the officers had been on strike for four months and blamed Baijal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ochestratring it. “In private, they say there is no demand and that they are being threatened to continue the strike,” the chief minister said.

The AAP also announced a “lieutenant governor, quit Delhi” campaign from June 17. The chief minister has claimed that the lieutenant governor’s office had threatened the striking IAS officers of “dire consequences” if they rejoined work. Sisodia alleged that Baijal was the mastermind behind the strike.