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Finding balance

Finding balance
The Joint Forum of Delhi Government Employees on Monday reiterated their demand for an apology from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for the alleged assault on the Delhi Chief Secretary on February 19. They also continued with their agitation under which they are maintaining only written communication with the political executive. Three important meetings called by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had to be cancelled as the officers and heads of departments refused to attend the meeting. Meanwhile, the state government informed that it is working towards facilitating live streaming of all official meetings. This will help people understand the proceedings of the meetings. This way, they can keep a tab on who is delaying a project or a file. As the Delhi government officials are refusing to attend the official meetings, work is piling up across different departments. Chief Minister Kejriwal along with his council of ministers had met the Lieutenant Governor and apprised him about the impending work because of the non-cooperative attitude of the government officials. The LG has reportedly told Kejriwal and his council of ministers that the present environment of mistrust between the government officials and the political executive has to be banished. The government officials are demanding an apology from the Delhi Chief Minister for the alleged assault on the Delhi Chief Secretary. Delhi government on its part had deputed Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam to initiate a peace talk with the government officials. But, there seems to be no headway in Gautam's endeavours to break the ice between the state government and the government officials. An apology from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is difficult to come by as it would adversely affect the case involving the two AAP MLAs who have been arrested for the alleged assault on the Delhi Chief Secretary. The government officials believe that both Chief Minister Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were a part of the conspiracy that led to the assault on the Delhi Chief Secretary. So, nothing less than their apology would satisfy the government officials, who fear that they would be meted out similar mistreatment and humiliation by the AAP Chief Minister and his council of ministers. Meanwhile, a city court on Monday reserved its order on the bail plea by the two arrested MLAs Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan. A magisterial court on Friday had dismissed their bail plea and called the two MLAs history-sheeters. Additional public prosecutor Atul Srivastava opposed their bail pleas, stating that there are many cases pending against the two MLAs. He also informed the court that there were discrepancies and manipulation in the CCTV footage recovered from the Chief Minister Kejriwal's residence. All these factors indicate that the stalemate between the Delhi government and its employees is likely to continue for a long time. Also, the Kejriwal government considers being cornered by the ongoing controversy. Its MLAs are seen as initiators of an attack on the Delhi Chief Secretary and the AAP top brass are refusing to admit their mistake.
The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister must have understood by now that they cannot afford to antagonise the bureaucracy—without them, it is not possible to run the government. Files are piling up in different departments and decisions on them are being considerably delayed as the government officials do not attend meetings. So, the Kejriwal government needs to persuade the officials to resume the work in right earnest. This is easier said than done as both sides have stuck to their respective positions; officials are asking for an apology from the Chief Minister and the Chief Minister is not ready to entertain their demand. Ever since AAP came to power in Delhi, the relation between the state government and the Centre appointed LG has been dipping for the worse. First, there was an acrimonious turf war between the two. This was followed by appointments and government decisions that were struck down by the LG. The AAP's ambition to expand its presence has seen its leaders talking with hostility rather than being tactful. They have engaged in a dangerous one-upmanship that has led to the present crisis. The AAP leadership has appeared to be wielding a great deal of fighting spirit, but if it has the ability to tactfully come out of a difficult situation is yet to be seen. AAP or its chief Kejriwal still has to show that it has the ability to take along everyone, including the bureaucrats.

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