For more than 48 hours now, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and half the Delhi Cabinet have worked out of a room meant for visitors at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office. From this small room, they clear government files, sleep on available furniture — a sofa and chairs — and take turns using a single washroom.
Few are allowed to meet them and a small group of staffers wait outside Raj Niwas — the Delhi Lt Governor’s office — ferrying messages, food and on Wednesday even mattresses for them to sleep on.
When Kejriwal and three cabinet colleagues walked into Raj Niwas Monday evening, AAP leaders and government officials knew a confrontation would ensue. But few had anticipated the CM would stage an indefinite sit-in.
Along with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain, Kejriwal had sought a meeting with Baijal around 5.30 pm on Monday evening with one demand: Clamp down on a four-month-long agitation by senior bureaucrats against the AAP government and clear the doorstep delivery of ration scheme.
Baijal and Kejriwal did meet briefly, but a heated argument had ensued and the CM allegedly “threatened” Baijal, according to a statement issued by the Lt Governor’s office. Soon after, Baijal left citing “prior engagements” and Kejriwal and his colleagues swiftly moved to settle down inside the small visitors’ room that adjoins Baijal’s office.
arvind kerjiwal, Kejriwal protest, manish sisodia, l-g anil baijal, ias officers strike, AAP march, aap, kejriwal dharna, aap news, kerjiwal news Workers led by AAP leaders marched to the L-G’s office where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues have been staging a sit-in since Monday. (AAP/Twitter)
“Manish Sisodia did tell me that there was a possibility that Arvind had something in mind. But a very few people anticipated that it may mean half the Delhi Cabinet shutting themselves inside a room in the Raj Niwas for days on end,” said an aide to Kejriwal.
Sources also said none of the AAP leaders have bathed for three days. “They have not been able to take a bath in the last three days. However, we have sent toothbrushes inside. The facilities allow them to freshen up once in a while,” a source said. On Tuesday, Jain started an indefinite hunger strike, which Sisodia joined the next day.
From statehood to breaking silence on PM, AAP shifts gears ahead of LS polls On Wednesday, rebel BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and former ambassador KC Singh tried meeting Kejriwal but were turned away by Raj Niwas security.
The ministers spend much of their time on social media. “All of them are early risers. And its natural, they are not getting adequate sleep. Rai has severe back issues.