Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who along with his three ministers continued the sit-in at the LG office for the fourth day, today sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to end the IAS officers' "strike" even as his protest received more political support including from Tamil actor Kamal Haasan, the RJD and the Left.
While Kejriwal voiced hope that Modi will follow the footsteps of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by respecting people's will and allowing opposition ruled states to work for the people, his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stepped up its attack on the Lt Governor Anil Baijal, wondering whether he did not have even "four minutes" to meet the chief minister and his three colleagues during the last four days.
In the morning, a team of doctors conducted a health check-up of Kejriwal's deputy Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who are on indefinite hunger strike during the sit-in at the L-G office. Jain's sugar level dropped to nearly half of the normal and doctors were regularly monitoring his condition, the AAP said. While Jain started an indefinite fast on June 12, Sisodia too started a hunger strike yesterday. The chief minister, who is a diabetic, has been taking insulin during the sit-in.
In his letter to Modi, Kejriwal alleged that Lt Governor Anil Baijal was doing "nothing" to break the impasse as he cited instances when the government work was stalled as the officers have not been attending meetings with ministers for the past three months.
He said cleaning of drains before monsoon and setting up of mohalla clinics are stuck because of the alleged strike by IAS officers. He said no meeting has taken place between IAS officers and ministers for the past three months to address the issue of air pollution, even as toxic pollutants in the air reached dangerous levels over the past three days.
Kejriwal and his three ministers, including Gopal Rai, are staging the protest to press their demand that the L-G direct the IAS officers to end their "strike" and act against those who have struck work. They also want the L-G to approve the proposal for doorstep delivery of ration.
However, the IAS officers' association has claimed that no officer has been on strike and no work has been affected. The AAP Government and the bureaucracy have been at loggerheads since the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs at Kejriwal's residence in February.
"Due to strike, several works are being affected. As L-G is doing nothing to end IAS officers' strike, Delhi government and the people of Delhi request you (PM) with folded hands to get the strike called off immediately so that works of Delhi can resume," Kejriwal said in the letter.
"Pollution is the biggest problem in Delhi. Earlier, there was a review and planning meeting in every 15 days on the issue, but due to strike, there has been no such meeting in the last three months," the chief minister alleged.
Later the chief minister tweeted,"I hope sir that Modi ji will also follow in the footsteps of Atal ji, respect people's will and allow opposition ruled states to work for the people." Separately in a tweet, Kejriwal alleged that the L-G office did not allow his brother to meet him.
After the medical check-up of the ministers, Director General of Health Services Kirti Bhushan told PTI, "We are constantly monitoring his (Jain's) situation. This morning, his vitals were checked and blood level had gone down to 47 units (mg/dL). A normal person should have 90-100 units of it. His blood pressure reading was 110/70, so that is ok,"
Bhushan said Jain's pulse reading too dropped to about 64 this morning against a normal of 72, "but as long as it is above 60, it is fine".
Rajya Sabha MP and senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged that nobody was being allowed to meet the chief minister during his sit-in at the L-G Secretariat and asked if he had been arrested. Singh alleged the "strike" by IAS officers was "at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and under the protection of Lt Governor Anil Baijal".
"The chief minister has been staging sit-in at the L-G Secretariat for the last four days. We want to ask whether he (Baijal) could not spare even four minutes to meet him in the last four days," Singh told reporters here adding,"I fail to understand as to why nobody is being allowed to meet the chief minister.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Hasaan and rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav came out in support of Kejriwal, saying the Centre should not create hurdles in the work of an elected government
Yechury alleged that the central government was using the office of the L-G to "obstruct" the elected government in Delhi in discharging of its constitutional duties.
Haasan, who in February launched his own political party --- Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) in Tamil Nadu at an event attended by Kejriwal, said that interference in the functioning of an elected government is "unacceptable in a democracy".
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)