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Kejriwal finally quits Raj Niwas as Delhi deadlock ends

Lt. Gov. Baijal writes to Delhi chief minister appreciating his assurance to officers about their security

New Delhi: An unprecedented political deadlock in Delhi ended on Tuesday as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ended his nine-day-long sit-in at the Raj Niwas after IAS officials he alleged were on strike resumed attending his government’s meetings.

Kejriwal and his cabinet colleague Gopal Rai left the waiting area where they had been camping since June 11 as part of a novel protest that elicited support from several political parties including BJP allies Shiv Sena and Janata Dal-United.

On reaching home, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader told party activists to keep agitating for full statehood for Delhi, the lack of which he underlined was the root cause of problems related to governance in the national capital.

He was greeted at his home by boisterous slogan chanting by party members. “We will continue the struggle until Delhi becomes a full state,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal walked out of Baijal’s office-cum-residence after IAS officers resumed attending the meetings called by the Delhi government.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the IAS officers attended the meetings on Tuesday called by Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, Social Welfare Minister Rajinder Pal Gautam and Food Minister Imran Hussain.

The officers were also responding to telephone calls from Ministers and Sisodia said he too spoke to a number of officers.

“All the senior officers including the Chief Secretary were present at meetings called by ministers on Tuesday,” Sisodia told the media.

Lt. Governor Baijal wrote to Kejriwal appreciating his assurance to officers about their security.

“The LG requested the Chief Minister to urgently meet the officers in the Secretariat so that apprehensions and concerns of both sides can be suitably addressed through dialogue in the best interest of the people of Delhi,” said a Raj Niwas statement.

The decision to leave Raj Niwas was taken within a few hours after the Lt Governor wrote to Kejriwal.

The AAP was also demanding that the Centre approve the Delhi government’s policy to supply ration to the poor at their houses.

Sisodia said: “When the LG has not responded on the issue in past nine days, there is no point in waiting more.”

Kejriwal and three of his ministers started camping in the Raj Niwas on June 11 demanding a direction to the IAS officers working in the Delhi administration to end their undeclared strike and the Centre to approve the Delhi government’s ration proposal.

Two Ministers — Sisodia and Satyendar Jain — who were on indefinite hunger strike were shifted to hospital after their health deteriorated. Kejriwal and Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai continued the protest.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kejriwal wrote a strongly-worded open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of trying to stifle the AAP government in Delhi by covertly backing the officers’ “strike”.

Also, the Supreme Court declined to hold an urgent hearing of a PIL seeking direction to the Delhi High Court to expeditiously hear a plea for declaring the protest by Kejriwal and others as unconstitutional and illegal.

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