As the ongoing protest by the Aam Aadmi party entered its fourth day on Thursday, Delhi chief minister and his cabinet ministers continued to lodge their protest by lodging themselves in the waiting of Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal's office.
In a significant development to the sit-in protest drama led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday met Union Home minister Rajnath Singh.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention to end the IAS officers' "strike" claiming that Lt Governor Anil Baijal was doing "nothing" to break the impasse.
In his letter to PM Modi, Kejriwal cited instances when the government work was stuck as the officers have not been attending meetings with the ministers for the past three months.
He said cleaning of drains before the monsoon, setting up of mohalla clinics and measures to curb air pollution, which reached hazardous levels on Thursday in Delhi, are stuck because of the alleged strike by the IAS officers.
Kejriwal also expressed 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.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, one among the AAP ministers who joined Kejriwal in the protest launched a scathing attack on PM Modi, saying that the whole drama that unfolded over the past four days is happening at the behest of PM Modi.
Meanwhile, the AAP also accused L-G Anil Baijal, for not meeting the protesting chief minister. Addressing a media conference in New Delhi, Rajya Sabha MP and senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said; "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".
He said that the party has sought an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Lt Governor Anil Baijal over the IAS officers' strike issue.
The sit-in protest on Thursday received more political support including from actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, RJD, CPI(M) and CPI.
CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram 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.
"This is despicable. The Centre must abandon this course of confrontation right away," Yechury tweeted.
BJP central government is using the office of the LG to obstruct the elected state government in Delhi to discharge its constitutional duties. This is despicable. The Centre must abandon this course of confrontation right away.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) June 14, 2018
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".
"Interference in the functioning of an elected government is unacceptable in a democracy. In fact what is happening in Delhi and in TN/Pondicherry are not too different. It is frustrating for people who want a change for the better," he tweeted.
Interference in the functioning of an elected government is unacceptable in a democracy. In fact what is happening in Delhi and in TN/Pondicherry are not too different. It is frustrating for people who want a change for the better. @ArvindKejriwal— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) June 14, 2018
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said that the "dictatorial Centre" has made a "mockery of democracy" in Delhi and Puduchery.
In a Hindi tweet, Yadav said that interference in the functioning of elected governments through "pawns of the Centre is bloodying the contexts and aspirations of the democracy".
Rebel JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav also came out in support of Kejriwal, saying "the elected government is not being allowed to work for one reason or the other."
"It is not a good precedent being set that the elected government is not allowed to work. It may be mentioned that this is not a failure of the state government, but the people of Delhi are being neglected due to the unnecessary tussle between the LG and the state government," he said in a statement.
According to the statement, Yadav urged the central government to take "initiative" to settle the issues of Delhi government once for all so that the people of Delhi "feel comfortable".
The Delhi unit of Communist Party of India (CPI) also strongly condemned the attitude of Lt Governor Anil Baijal "by not meeting" the chief minister and his ministers who are sitting since Monday in the waiting hall of the LG Secretariat office.
"The CPI is of the view that no constitutional authority in Delhi can be an agent of any political party or its ideology and cannot bypass or neglect the elected government of Delhi," the party said in a statement.
Meanwhile, rebel AAP legislator Kapil Mishra said BJP's protest against AAP will continue till they "expose" the Kejriwal government. West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma, the BJP MLAs --Vijender Gupta, who is the Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, Jagdish Pradhan and Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Mishra sat on dharna at the Chief Minister's office at on Thursday, demanding an assurance from the CM to help Delhiites overcome the water crisis. Delhi BJP-unit President Manoj Tiwari said that the Kejrwal government is shying away from its responsibilities and is paying no heed to the real problems of the people of Delhi.
Meanwhile, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Delhi high court on Thursday seeking to declare the sit-in protest at the Lt. Governor’s office by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues unconstitutional and illegal as it has brought the government machinery to a standstill.
The petition, filed by Delhi-based lawyer Hari Nath Ram through his advocates Shashank Deo Sudhi and Shashi Bhushan, is likely to be heard next week.
“Issue direction for discharging the chief ministerial obligations and responsibilities as the entire functioning of the chief minister’s office of Delhi has been brought to a standstill ever since the strike was called on,” Sudhi requested the court.
The framing of comprehensive guidelines to ensure legislators do not indulge in unconstitutional acts has also been sought.
“Politicians are required to be upholders of the constitution. They should not be the breakers of the constitutional law. The instant circumstances are the illustration of chaotic administrative paralysis which urgently requires to be streamlined,” the plea read.