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.