Arvind Kejriwal is back to his juvenile ways of protesting. On Monday night, the Delhi Chief Minister along with some of his ministerial colleagues spent the night at the Lieutenant Governor’s residence, demanding that they would not move unless the Lt Governor ordered Delhi’s bureaucrats who were on a four-month long ‘strike’ against the Government, to mend their ways. The Chief Minister had come to meet the Lt Governor, and after the meeting was over and the Lt Governor refused to summon the bureaucrats saying that he had already met them and that the matter had to be amicably settled between the Government and the babus, Kejriwal and group sprawled on the sofa set in the waiting room and stayed put for the night, uninvited. They may not have had a good night’s sleep but it is unlikely that the Lt Governor will have lost sleep over the matter. Kejriwal is, after all, known for silly antics and this is not the first time he has indulged in them — though the night sit-in at the Lt Governor’s residence must be the first of its kind. If a question has to be asked as to whether the Chief Minister gained anything out of this drama, the answer would be ‘nothing’, except for some media publicity.
The core issue of the tussle between the Kejriwal Government and the bureaucrats cannot be resolved until the Chief Minister and his colleagues recognise that the officials cannot be made to go against the rules that determine Delhi’s governance, and that they cannot be repeatedly humiliated — and even assaulted, as none less than the Chief Secretary was at the Chief Minister’s residence late in the night in the presence of the Chief Minister some weeks ago. Kejriwal cannot get away by blaming the bureaucrats and the Lt Governor for toeing the Centre’s line and for impeding the functioning of an elected regime. Governments preceding Kejriwal’s too had worked in a similar set-up where the Union Government’s say in administrative matter was substantial, which was in accordance with the rules that are in place. But there had never been the sort of ugly confrontations that we have witnessed since the Kejriwal regime took over. The extent of the Centre’s authority over governance is a subject that has reached the Supreme Court, and we have to wait for the final word. Meanwhile, Kejriwal and group will gain nothing but more ridicule if they continue with their immature tactics. They were elected to govern effectively, and not behave like spoilt children.