From 5:30 pm, 11 June, 2018 marked the beginning of the Aam Aadmi Party’s dharna within the premises of the Lieutenant Governor’s (L-G) residence, Raj Niwas. The Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal and colleagues Satyendra Jain, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai visited the L-G, Anil Baijal, to discuss over a few matters; however the result turned out to be a sit-in protest extended by the Chief Minister and his colleagues. They are currently demanding two things: first, fulfillment of their demands by the L-G; and second, the demand to end the ‘strike’ being carried out by IAS officers functioning under the Aam Aadmi Party Government.
According to Aam Aadmi Party the IAS functioning under them have been on a strike for over four months, manifesting the same by not coming for meetings, not picking up their calls and by stalling most of the work that the Aam Aadmi Party needs them to do. The Chief Minister has further said in an interview with the Indian Express, that some of the Civil Servants have personally told them that they have been threatened by higher political authorities of losing their jobs in case they start functioning properly. By undertones of this statement explicitly points a finger at the Prime Minister for having exercised an undue control over the Civil Servants, leading to a difficult situation for the Aam Aadmi Party to operate properly. Consequently the Aam Aadmi Party government wants the L-G to “issue orders that all those IAS officers who do not return to work shall be proceeded against and if necessary ESMA may be invoked against them, take action against those officers who have ‘stalled’ work till now” [TOI].
On the contrary the IAS Association Delhi held a press conference to clarify that the allegations against them were “completely false and baseless.” According to the IAS Association, they have been attending all the regular meeting and have been fulfilling all the function reposed n them. Only in cases where they feel that their security and self-respect are at risk, they choose not to attend those meetings. They have further expressed how no confidence has been provided to them by the Aam Aadmi Party Government over the issue of security.
The issue of security is of key concern over here as in February, 2018; two Aam Aadmi Party leaders were arrested for having committed a physical assault on the Chief Secretary of Delhi, Anshu Prakash.
In response to the security concerns expressed by the IAS Association the Aam Aadmi Party has lately given them some assurance. But as far as the physical assault allegation is concerned, the Chief Minister has clearly stated that no assault took place and the people must wait for the verdict of the Supreme Court over the issue.
The Aam Aadmi Party has received support from Communist Party of India (M) and the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. As far as Bharatiya Janta Party’s leader Vijendra Gupta has currently challenged the ‘sofa dharna’ in the Delhi High Court.
Both the Aam Aadmi Party and their Political supporters are viewing the situation in the light of a ‘constitution crises’ and are expecting the centre to intervene so as to uphold the federal structure. Thus, hinting towards the fulfillment of the consistent demand of granting statehood to Delhi. This is not a new demand as almost every party which has led Delhi has at one time or another demanded statehood for the city.
However one cannot forget that Delhi is not just another Union Territory but the National Capital as well, hence, granting it statehood is not actually possible. In fact most capitals in the world do lay under the Centre’s control, for example, Washington DC, Berlin and London. At the same time the Delhi High Court has made it clear that constitutionally the Lieutenant Governor is indeed a legitimate administrator for the Union Territory. The only authority of granting statehood to Delhi lies with the Centre which is not even responding to the situation in Raj Niwas. Maybe the Aam Aadmi Party Government can achieve success in compelling the Centre to respond if they demand for greater autonomy instead of absolute statehood.
Picture Credits: Newsxind.com