Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday called off his nine-day long sit-in protest at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office, ANI reported. Kejriwal and three of his Cabinet ministers had been camping at Baijal’s office to urge him to get the Capital’s bureaucrats to end their alleged strike. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party has accused the Prime Minister’s Office of being behind the alleged strike.
Earlier in the day, the Raj Niwas said that Baijal wrote to Kejriwal requesting him to urgently meet the IAS officers in the secretariat so that the apprehensions and concerns of both sides can be addressed through dialogue.
Kejriwal and Development Minister Gopal Rai addressed a press conference after leaving the lieutenant governor’s office. “We have nothing against the IAS officers, 99% of them are good people,” the chief minister said. “We have worked with them to improve governance in Delhi. They were just a front for interference by central government and the lieutenant governor.”
Kejriwal said his government’s struggle will continue until Delhi is granted full statehood.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was on a hunger strike along with Delhi minister Satyendar Jain till Monday, said that several bureaucrats had attended a meeting with ministers on Tuesday.
“All senior officers including the chief secretary attended all the meetings conducted today, we hope that they will attend tomorrow as well,” Sisodia told reporters. “This was not a dharna. We were waiting to meet the lieutenant governor.”
The officers have denied they are on strike but said they stopped attending meetings with ministers after Aam Aadmi Party legislators were accused of attacking Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at Kejriwal’s office in February. The AAP has rejected the assault allegations.
On Sunday, Kejriwal assured the IAS officers that he would ensure their safety and security “with all powers and resources available at my command”. After this, the officers said they were ready to hold discussions with Kejriwal. The government has asked Baijal to be present during these discussions since the bureaucracy is under his control.