Arvind Kejriwal’s nine-day-long sit-in protest at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s residence appears to be heading for an anti-climax. As the much-highlighted dharna by the Delhi Chief Minister and his fellow ministers ended on Tuesday evening — after the LG’s directive to the CM to hold a meeting with officials, signalling a truce — the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener decided to travel to Bengaluru to join a naturopathy course. This means that his meeting with Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers in the national capital, which was one of the principal grounds for the CM’s protest, could be delayed by another 10 days.
The IAS officers had been boycotting a meeting with ministers since the alleged attack on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash at Kejriwal’s residence in February. The officers had gone public with their apprehensions about their safety and security. After the statement, Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues had begun the sit-in June 11, demanding a direction by the L-G to IAS officers to end their “strike”. During the sit-in at the L-G office, Kejriwal had assured IAS officers of their “safety”, calling them “part of a family”.
According to officials at the CM’s office, Kejriwal has not been keeping well after ending the nine-day long sit-in at Lt Governor’s office. “He is likely to leave for Bengaluru tomorrow to join a 10-day naturopathy course to control his sugar levels,” the officials said on Wednesday. While the move seemed to irk a few people, it chiefly disgruntled rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra.
Why this Bengaluru visit?
Kejriwal’s sudden visit to the ‘Garden City’ may have raised a few eyebrows, but Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia asserted that it was pre-planned. Informing the media regarding CM Kejriwal’s health-related development, Manish Sisodia said at a press conference that the AAP chief’s health had deteriorated during the protest. “Before the protest started, his plan was to go to Bengaluru for treatment,” he said. According to reports, during the protest at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s residence, his blood sugar levels had increased and even insulin injections were not working on him.
L-G’s letter to Kejriwal
The L-G had written to Kejriwal asking him to meet the IAS officers “urgently” to address their concerns. The IAS Association had on Tuesday said that they were awaiting a formal communication for a meeting with Kejriwal. “In the context of CM’s assurance, we await formal communication for a meeting with him in the Delhi Secretariat. We reiterate that we continue to be at work,” IAS AGUMUT Association had tweeted.
No meeting in 10 days?
With the CM likely to remain out of the city for 10 days, no meeting with the IAS officials has been scheduled so far. “We were hoping that there would be a meeting Wednesday but did not get any communication. We are still hopeful of a meeting but it surely can’t happen in the next 10 days. We have made it very clear that we want to speak to the CM. He made a statement assuring us a safe working environment and we will wait for him to tell us how this will happen,” a senior officer was quoted as saying by IE. On Wednesday, Kejriwal’s office cancelled all meetings in view of the Chief Minister’s health condition.
Kapil Mishra’s tirade
After word of Kejriwal’s Bengaluru visit got out, rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra posted a strongly-worded video message on Twitter. Mishra lashed out at CM Kejriwal for leaving the city when he had the perfect opportunity to settle the administrative conundrum. He vented his anger at CM Kejriwal for opting for Bengaluru instead of Delhi for the purpose of the treatment and cast aspersions over the CM’s claims pertaining to the city’s treatment facilities. He captioned the video in Hindi “9 दिन के धरने के बाद 10 दिन की छुट्टी” (10-day leave after 9 days of sit-in protest). “I feel anger as this man Kejriwal has literally cheated the city (Sorry for the tone in this video but this is what every Dilli wala is feeling today). Use earphones, sensitive content,” Mishra said.
Kejriwal’s health problem
The chief minister had attended naturopathy treatment in Bengaluru in the past for a chronic cough problem. He was due to attend the course there last month itself, the officials said.The CM has been facing health issues for last two years. In February last year, Kejriwal had visited Bengaluru to undergo naturopathy treatment for high blood sugar. In January 2016, Kejriwal had undergone 12 days of naturopathy treatment at the same institute for a chronic cough and diabetes. In September 2016, the chief minister had also undergone a throat surgery at Narayana Hospital in Bengaluru in September 2016.
Why did Kejriwal protest?
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues had started spending night at the Lt Governor’s office for their demands including a direction to IAS officers to end their “strike” and action against officers who have struck work for “four months”. A statement, issued by Baijal’s office however stated that the L-G was “threatened” to summon officers and issue directions to them to end their “strike” immediately.