NEW DELHI: The AAP today asked the IAS officers in the Delhi government to end their “strike” and said that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal assuring safety to them is a “good step forward” and now it is the “responsibility” of the Centre and bureaucrats’ fraternity to reciprocate.
A day after AAP workers held a protest march in the heart of Delhi in support of the ongoing sit-in by the party’s national convener and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and his two cabinet colleagues at the lieutenant governor’s office, senior leader Sanjay Singh said it was a message that people of Delhi won’t stay quiet if they are “made to suffer”.
“Chief Minister Kejriwal has assured the IAS officers that he would ensure their safety saying they were part of his family. It is a good step, new initiative by him.
“Now, it is the responsibility of the Centre, the Lt Governor and the IAS association to take two steps forward from their sides in favour of people of Delhi and end the strike,” he told reporters.
An end of the “strike” by IAS officers would ensure that pending work such as CCTV installation, air pollution control, education, mid-day meal scheme are completed, Singh said.
The Delhi IAS association, yesterday in a press conference, had asked the Arvind Kejriwal government not to use its officers for “political gains” and rebutted the AAP’s claim that they were on strike.
“Yesterday’s march was a message that Delhi is in trouble, facing problems, related to water, ration and pollution. The protest was a signal that people of Delhi won’t stay quiet and the agitation can assume an even bigger form if our voices are not heard,” Singh said.
He warned that people will again take to the streets and the AAP will expand its agitation if the “strike” does not end.
“We will launch a campaign to collect signatures of 10 lakh people against the strike from tomorrow. A much bigger march than yesterday’s massive protest will be taken out to hand over the signatures to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Singh said.
Several AAP leaders and a large number of party workers yesterday flooded the streets of Lutyens’ Delhi as they sought to march to 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, the official residence of the prime minister. The march began from Mandi House, but the agitators were stopped at Parliament Street police station.
Singh said it was surprising that IAS officers in Delhi government claimed to be “frightened” after the alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by AAP MLAs in February.
“Its laughable. If anyone, who is frightened and scared at the moment, they are AAP leaders and MLAs, who have faced dozens of cases and arrests. Police is always ready to arrest them at the slightest of excuse and trivial complaints,” he said.
“CBI is sent after our CM, deputy CM, health minister, and they (IAS officers) are saying that they are feeling afraid,” Singh said in a mocking tone.
Kejriwal, through his assurance to the IAS officers, had sought to break the four-month-long impasse between the AAP dispensation and the officers over the alleged assault on Prakash.
Singh today said that Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues were forced to hold sit-in at Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s office after every effort to end the IAS officers “strike” failed.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court today virtually disapproved of the sit-in led by Kejriwal at the lieutenant governor’s office and asked the AAP government who had authorised such a protest.
Singh also alleged that Congress was “speaking the language of the BJP”, and said, “They will be mentioned in the history pages in black letters for this.”
The AAP was the first one to speak out when attempts were made to “murder democracy”, be it in Manipur, Goa or Karnataka. The Congress should reconsider its “silence, at a time when the elected government of Delhi is not being allowed to work”, he said.