Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on dharna at the LG’s office. (Express photo)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ‘dharna politics’ is back with the latest sit-in at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office entering the fourth day on Thursday. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been staging a protest over a rift between the IAS officers and the Delhi government over an alleged assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash.
Many criticise Kejriwal for ignoring the work at the CM office and sitting on a dharna, which appears unusual for a chief minister. However, he is not the first chief minister to do so. There are several others who resorted to sit-in while in the hot seat.
-In 1982, then Tamil Nadu chief minister MG Ramachandran observed a day-long fast Anna samadhi at Marina Beach, to protest against the Indira Gandhi-led government’s refusal to allocate more rice to his state from the central reserve. Ramachandran’s government had introduced the midday meal scheme for school children which had put a huge strain on the state’s pool. A furious Gandhi later announced more rice for Tamil Nadu, forcing the leader to wrap up his fast at the end of the day.
-Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa undertook a four-day hunger strike near the MGR memorial at Chennai’s Marina beach in 1993 after Karnataka refused to share 250 tmc of Cauvery water, as per the 1991-direction given by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, with its neighbour. The AIADMK’s protest turned into a huge show after hundreds of workers from across the state arrived at the spot to extend their support to the party supremo. Medical bulletins were issued at regular intervals by the state health secretary.
It was not until Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao sent his Cabinet colleague and Union Water Resources Minister V.C. Shukla to Chennai and assured her that the Centre would set up two committees to ensure the implementation of the directive that she ended her fast.
-In 2014, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hit out at the then UPA-led government at the Centre against its “apathy” towards farmers hit by unseasonable rain and hailstorm in several parts of the state. While criticising the government for not providing any relief to the loss caused to soybean crops, not purchasing gram crop on minimum support price and also not recognising the state as basmati rice-producing region, Chouhan had said, “Our entire Cabinet would go to Delhi to apprise the Union government about the current situation.” The CM also alleged that the Centre was working at the behest of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and also because of Pakistan’s opposition to the move. “APEDA has joined hands with Pakistan for doing injustice to the farmers of Madhya Pradesh,” he alleged.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu at the hunger strike. (ANI)
-In April this year, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu held a day-long fast in Amaravati to pressurise the Centre to grant Special Category Status to the state. The CM launched the ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ hunger strike at Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium in Vijayawada. The Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party has been at loggerheads with the BJP-led government at the Centre ever since the announcement of the Union budget. TDP leaders claimed that it was perhaps for the first time in the history of the country that the CM of a state decided to go on fast on his birthday.