New Delhi: As the sit-in protest by Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal and his three cabinet colleagues at Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal’s office-cum-residence entered its third day on Wednesday, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia launched an indefinite hunger strike.
“To ensure the rights of the Delhites and to re-start their work, I am going on an indefinite hunger strike. Our will power and the trust of people is our strength,” Sisodia told media, stating that no truce seemed to be in sight.
Kejriwal and his ministers Satyendar Jain and Gopal Rai have been camping inside the waiting room of the LG office where they spent two nights in a row sleeping on the couch.
On Wednesday, the Delhi CM said he would not leave the LG’s office until his demands were met.
“Good morning, Delhiites. People have been saying that Kejriwal has been silent for a year. I think the centre started to take undue advantage of my silence. But our struggle to overcome the hurdles blocking Delhi’s development is on. Our confidence is our strength. We would not budge unless are demands are met,” he tweeted.
The Delhi government’s demands include a direction to Indian Administration Service (IAS) officers working in its service to end their “strike”, punishment for those officers who boycotted work, and approval of the government’s proposal for doorstep delivery of rations for the poor.
According to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, IAS officers have not been attending meetings with the ministers due to which official work was suffering.
The officers have gone on a “strike” since the alleged assault by Kejriwal and some of his ministers on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash on February 19.
“We are here at LG House because we love Delhi and we care for Delhi. We have worked very hard for Delhi. We want Delhi to further improve. We feel shattered because many great initiatives are getting stuck. Lets improve our beloved Delhi, LG Sir. And lets do it together,” Sisodia had tweeted ahead of announcement of his hunger strike.
On Wednesday, all AAP legislators and workers gathered at CM residence for a protest march towards LG Office. AAP also sought President Ram Nath Kovind’s intervention stating that an “emergency-like” situation prevailed in Delhi.
“The Lieutenant-Governor was working at the behest of Modi government. It is an emergency-like situation in Delhi. The entire work of the Delhi government is crippled due to strike by IAS officers for past four months,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay criticised Kejriwal for his sit-in protest.
“Kejriwal has failed to deliver on all his promises – be it security for women, CCTV installations, unemployment and many more. He never brought development in the city, nor in the statehood issue. Just because he didn`t do anything for the national capital, he has always blamed the Centre for it,” Upadhyay said.
Leader of opposition in Delhi legislative assembly Vijender Gupta described Kejriwal’s protest a way to “shirk work.”
“Delhi’s owner Kejriwal and company are protesting inside an air-conditioned room. Delicacies are being served to them from outside while the city’s reeling under a water crisis. They are only concerned about politics and not about people’s issues,” Gupta tweeted.
Mimicking Kejriwal’s protest, Gupta along with other BJP leaders sat on a dharna at Kejriwal’s office on Wednesday.
“The sit-in will continue till our demands are met by Delhi government. The protest is against the non-performance of the Kejriwal government,” Gupta said.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari called Kejriwal’s protest a “mockery of democracy”.
“Making mockery of democracy, no work only drama,” he tweeted.