Non-BJP CMs in a show of solidarity with Kejriwal

Non-BJP CMs in a show of solidarity with Kejriwal

Four non-BJP chief ministers on Saturday night gave much muscle to their Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal in his confrontation with the NDA government and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal with a show of solidarity.

In a day of high drama, the chief ministers — H D Kumaraswamy, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu and Pinarayi Vijayan — could not meet Baijal or Kejriwal as the L-G did not give an appointment to meet him or permission to enter Raj Nivas to have consultations with the Delhi chief minister, which Mamata described as a "shame".

On a day of fast-paced developments, which saw leaders of the Trinamool Congress and the CPM leaving behind the bitter rivalry to discuss a strategy along with the JD(S) and the TDP top honchos, the chief ministers did not appeal to Kejriwal to end the sit-in at Raj Nivas as speculated.

They said the issue should be sorted out immediately and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene while arguing that the episode did not augur well for democracy or was an exemplary example of cooperative federalism propagated by Modi.

"Today we came here to express support and solidarity with the Delhi chief minister. The L-G and the Centre should allow the democratically elected state government to function," Naidu said at a late night joint press conference addressed by the chief ministers at Kejriwal's official residence where they had gone to meet his family.

While Kumaraswamy called for Modi's intervention, Mamata said the Centre should not cross the line. "If you cannot solve a problem in Delhi, what will you do with the whole country," she said while Vijayan emphasised that the attitude of the Centre was destroying the federal structure of the country.

The four chief ministers, who are in the capital to attend Sunday's Niti Ayog governing council, first met at Andhra Bhavan and planned to meet Kejriwal in Raj Nivas where he along with his three Cabinet ccolleagues are on a sit-in for the past six days.

Before this, a joint letter by the chief ministers seeking an appointment with Baijal at 9 pm to impress him upon the demands of the Delhi chief minister, which included the L-G's intervention to end a "strike" by IAS officers among other things.

However, the L-G office told them Baijal "was out of home". An earlier request by Mamata to meet Kejriwal was also rejected.

Soon after shooting off the letter to the L-G, the chief ministers first drove to Kejriwal's residence in Civil Lines around 9 pm where they met his wife Sunita, his mother and children but by then the news of Baijal denying appointment for a meeting came.

Their coming together also indicated a fissure in the Opposition as the Congress continued targeting the AAP. Mamata said it was an occasion where people should rise above politics.

To a question on the Congress not supporting the AAP, she said, “The Congress has its own existence in Delhi. It does not want anybody else to grow. It is their on problem,” she added.