AAP leaders question Anil Baijal over IAS officers’ strike

Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Sanjay Singh, Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj addressed a press conference on Tuesday regarding the “strike” called by IAS officers, and demanded to know why Lt Gov ernor (L-G) Anil Baijal has not taken any action yet.

This comes as Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues spent a night at the lieutenant governor’s office for their demands, including a direction to IAS officers to end their “strike” and action against officers who have been on strike for “four months”.

Singh said the AAP government is not demanding anything for itself but only wants the mohalla clinics to be built. He further accused the Centre of working against the Delhi government since it came to power.

Bharadwaj said that the IAS officers insist they are not on strike but still will not report to work. He put forward five questions for the L-G and the IAS officers:

1. Is it not true that slowing down work is also a form of strike?
2. Is boycotting meetings called by ministers not a form of strike?
3. Despite the high court’s order, the officers are not going for field visits. Is it not a form of strike?
4. Is L-G not the authority to take action against the officers?
5. The chief minister and other ministers told the L-G multiple times that IAS officers are on strike. Why has he not taken any action in last four months?

Meanwhile, the IAS Association secretary Manisha Saxena on Monday termed the allegations by Kejriwal that the IAS officers in Delhi are on strike as “unwarranted and baseless” and “unfortunate”.

“We wish to reiterate and clarify that no officer/official in Delhi is or has been on strike subsequent to the unfortunate assault of the chief secretary on 19 February at the chief minister’s residence by the MLAs,” she said. “The concerned officers have been attending all Cabinet meetings, statutory meetings and meetings of importance affecting the public. They have also been regularly briefing the ministers for Assembly questions.”

“If the officers had been on strike, the Budget could not have been passed and the Budget Session could not have been held,” she added.

However, Saxena accepted that the officers are not attending routine meetings called by the ministers and the chief minister. “The reasons being that they (the ministers) have failed till date to give any assurance regarding safety, security, dignity and respect to the officers, including women officers,” she added.

Bhardwaj, however, said, “Even though officers are trying to justify the strike, they are too afraid to admit their participation in the strike.”

“The IAS Association understands it fully well that any form of strike can lead to dismissal from the service. The officers are too scared of losing their jobs,” he added.

With inputs from agencies