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Shiv Sena support of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal dharna

In an embarrassment to the BJP, its allies Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) and the Shiv Sena on Monday came out in support of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who is on an unprecedented sit-in at the office of lieutenant governor Anil Baijal to press for various demands, including an early end to an undeclared strike by the city’s IAS officers who report to the Central government.

“While condemning the alleged misbehaviour against the chief secretary, now that the CM has assured IAS officers regarding their safety, and appealed to them to resume their mandated duties, they must do so immediately, for the people of Delhi,” said JD(U) spokesperson Pavan Kumar Varma in a tweet.

Referring to the tussle between the AAP government and bureaucrats, Mr Varma, a former diplomat, said that such a situation can destroy the foundation of democratic values in the long run.

“Those urging officers to non-cooperation against the elected government of the day may reap immediate political benefit, but will destroy the very foundations of our republic in the long run. What can happen against one elected govt can happen against another too!” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile in Mumbai, another BJP ally, Shiv Sena, said that the movement of Delhi chief minister is a “unique one”.

Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that his party chief Uddhav Thackarey spoke to Delhi chief minister and told him that he had the right to work for Delhi as the AAP government had been elected by people.

The Shiv Sena feels that the ongoing Delhi impasse is not good for democracy, Mr Raut said.

The support for Mr Kejriwal from the two constituents of BJP-led NDA comes a day after four non-BJP chief ministers took up the cause of the Delhi government and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help resolve the impasse between Delhi L-G and chief minister.

West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh’s N. Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka’s H.D. Kumaraswamy and Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, requested Mr Modi to intervene so that the “federal structure of the Constitution is maintained”.

Mr Kejriwal, along with his colleagues, has been on a dharna at the L-G’s office since June 13, demanding an end to the IAS officers’ strike and approval of the doorstep ration delivery scheme.

On Monday, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who has been on hunger strike along with Mr Kejriwal, was taken to hospital after his health deteriorated. Health minister Satyendar Jain, who was also part of the dharna, was hospitalised on Sunday night.

The bureaucrats have allegedly boycotted meetings called by Mr Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues since February in protest against an alleged assault on chief secretary Anshu Prakash by some AAP MLAs at the chief minister’s residence. The IAS officers claim they have been attending office regularly and communicating with ministers through files and no official work has suffered due to their protest.

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