Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday issued his first official reaction on the ongoing administrative crisis in the national capital as a results of the sit-in protest staged by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers at the LG’s house.
Gandhi’s tweet read, “Delhi CM, sitting in Dharna at LG office. BJP sitting in Dharna at CM residence. Delhi bureaucrats addressing press conferences. PM turns a blind eye to the anarchy; rather nudges chaos & disorder. People of Delhi are the victims, as this drama plays out.”
Delhi CM, sitting in Dharna at LG office.
BJP sitting in Dharna at CM residence.
Delhi bureaucrats addressing press conferences.
PM turns a blind eye to the anarchy; rather nudges chaos & disorder.
People of Delhi are the victims, as this drama plays out.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 18, 2018
Gandhi’s tweet came after many commentators criticised the Congress for not supporting Kejriwal in his protest since the latter was perceived to be protesting against the central government’s high-handedness in weakening an elected government. This despite the fact that one of his own chief ministers, Puducherry’s V Narayanasamy too faced the same frequent interventions from the Centre through the office of the LG despite the Congress winning the election in the state-cum-union territory.
Taking a stand contradictory to that of his party, Narayanasamy on Friday had accused the Lieutenant Governors of Delhi and Puducherry of interfering in the functioning of the elected governments in the two states.
Narayanasamy had said that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues at the LG’s office were protesting against “interference” by Lt Governor Anil Baijal.
His statement came on the day the Delhi Congress president, Ajay Maken, slammed Kejriwal and his colleague for their protest calling it as a tool to divert people’s attention from real issues. He had told a news conference, “The dharna by both the parties (AAP and BJP) is a part of well-planned strategy. The script of this strategy had been written when the chief secretary was assaulted at the CM’s residence… AAP is doing dharna to divert attention from its failure on public issues.”
On Monday, the Delhi High Court reprimanded the national capital’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, for his sit-in protest inside the office-cum-residence of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
The bench of Justices A K Chawla and Navin Chawla observed, “This can’t be called a strike. You can’t go inside someone’s office or house and hold a strike there.” The bench was hearing a petition filed by BJP MLA Vijender Gupta.
“Thing is that you’re sitting on a dharna. Who authorised to sit on a dharna like this?” Times of India quoted the bench as saying.
Kejriwal and his ministers have been staging sit-in protest at the residence of Baijal for over a week demanding the latter’s intervention to end the strike called by the civil servants of the Delhi government. The AAP government has often alleged that the boycott of administrative functioning by the civil servants was taking place at the behest of the LG, who reports to the central government.
The High Court had in 2016 had said that the LG was the administrative boss of Delhi. Although the elected government of AAP has challenged the Delhi High Court’s ruling in the Supreme Court, the order created more rift between the LG and Kejriwal-led government and confusion among the bureaucrats.
Civil servants have been allegedly on strike since Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash sensationally accused two AAP MLAs of assaulting him at the residence of Kejriwal, who had called him for a meeting.
Two AAP MLAs were arrested by the Delhi Police, but the there has not been any progress on the case since then. There was also a discrepancy in the time of attack stated by Prakash in his complaint and the time he left Kejriwal’s house.
Many chief ministers from across India have extended their support to Kejriwal in his protest against the LG and the central government.