New Delhi: Central Delhi plunged into chaos on Monday with the 45- year old chief minister Arvind Kejriwal holding a ” dharna” a few feet away from the Parliament House wall, defying the prohibitory orders and threatening to disrupt the Republic Day Parade on January 26.
” It will be unprecedented if a chief minister is arrested in his own state, but that may happen as we cannot allow the parade to be ruined,” a top home ministry official said. He, however, added that the decision to break up Kejriwal’s unlawful assembly would be a political decision.
In a headlong collision with the Centre, after he and other Delhi ministers were not allowed to drive in his private WagonR car up to the Home Ministry to protest against the Delhi Police, Kejriwal launched a 10- day ” dharna” on the spot. He also exhorted Delhiites aggrieved over the conduct of the Delhi Police to join him.
Kejriwal also set up his camp office at the spot and files arrived in cartons, for him and the ministers to clear: This was to send out a message that their protest was not impeding government work.
In one of his public addresses, he took on the critics who are accusing him of creating anarchy. ” Some people say that I am an anarchist creating disorder. es, I am an anarchist,” he thundered.
The chief minister refused to heed repeated police requests to shift to the protest ground at Jantar Mantar and went to the extent of publicly accusing Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde of taking bribes in matters of postings and transfers of SHOs. Kejriwal quoted the former home secretary R K Singh, who has joined the BJP since his retirement, to buttress his argument.
The scheduled Union Cabinet meeting set aside its agenda and instead discussed the crisis at hand: Kejriwal’s protest venue is just 50 metres away from the Republic Parade route on the Rajpath.
The parade rehearsal, as it is, has disrupted traffic in the area. Kejriwal’s agitation created further chaos on the roads. On police request, Delhi Metro shut the Central Secretariat station, a stone’s throw from his ” dharna” and at least three other stations to control the crowd converging there. The police had a tough time handling AAP workers who were trying to pick up fights with them. A minister, who tried to handle a police officer, was detained, infuriating the protestors further. The baton carrying Rapid Action Force personnel hit all roads close to the ” dharna” venue but did not get cracking for want of any orders from the top.
Kejriwal stuck to his demand for suspension of three SHOs and two ACPs for defying his law minister. But the Union Cabinet decided not to yield to his demand on the ground that any action can be taken only after an inquiry the home ministry has already ordered.
AAP ideologue and spokesman ogendra adav held a press conference at a separate venue to justify the ” dharna,” asserting that it was a protest against the dereliction of duty by the ” incompetent, corrupt and unaccountable” police.
” An officer refused to register an FIR of a woman set on fire, a Danish woman was gang- raped and the police refused to act, the law minister exposed rampant use of drugs and prostitution, but all to no avail,” pointed out adav.
” The moot question is whether Delhi Police is accountable to people or not and what is wrong in an elected government questioning the police,” adav said.
He went on to assert that the ” dharna” was in line with his party’s poll manifesto, which had pledged a struggle to bring the police under the Delhi Government.