Four regional heavyweights throw weight behind Arvind Kejriwal; reflect chinks in Opposition unity

Interestingly, the Congress, which has been eyeing a grand alliance of opposition parties to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, has been slamming the Delhi Chief Minister for his sit-ins.

Published: 16th June 2018 11:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2018 11:52 PM   |  A+A-

(L-R) West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu during a meeting at Andhra Bhawan in New Delhi on June, 16 2018. (EPS| Shekhar Yadav)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Chief ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala today rallied behind their Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who has been protesting at the Raj Niwas for six consecutive days demanding that the "strike" by bureaucrats in the city be called off.

At the press conference at Kejriwal's residence, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asked the Centre to resolve the "crisis" immediately.

[FOLLOW UPDATES HERE: All democratic people are with Arvind Kejriwal, say four non-BJP Chief Ministers]

The open support to Kejriwal by the four chief ministers assume significance as it comes amidst efforts by leading opposition parties to cobble together a rainbow coalition ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Interestingly, the Congress, which has been eyeing a grand alliance of opposition parties to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, has been slamming the Delhi Chief Minister for his sit-ins.

The press conference in support of Kejriwal by the four major regional players came a day after the Congress fielded former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Congress President to attack Kejriwal for his protest, reflecting clear divide among the opposition on the issue.

The show of support to Kejriwal by Kumaraswamy, who heads a coalition government with the Congress in Karnataka, is at variance with the stand taken by the grand old party on the issue, in an indication that the regional party will not hesitate to take own position on important issues.

"We came here to show our support to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. We demand that the prime minister interferes and takes necessary steps to solve the problem," Kumaraswamy said.

The four chief ministers went to Kejriwal's residence after they were "denied" permission by LG Anil Baijal.

"I wanted to meet the Delhi chief minister but I was told, verbally, that permission will not be granted. Then four of us wrote to the LG for appointment, but we were told that he (Baijal) is not there. We were not allowed," Banerjee said.

Earlier, the four chief ministers met at Andhra Bhawan.

Banerjee, Naidu, Vijayan and Kumaraswamy are in Delhi to attend a meeting of Niti Aayog tomorrow.

The CMs met Kejriwal's wife and several other AAP leaders at the Delhi Chief Minister's residence.

"We were not even given six minutes to meet him. We want this problem to be solved. This has become a constitutional crisis. Ultimately, if this problem is not solved then people will face issues. If this is happening in the capital then what will happen in other states? We will meet the prime minister tomorrow and request him to intervene and solve the problem," Banerjee said.

The bureaucrats in Delhi are not meeting Delhi ministers as part of their protest against an alleged assault on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash in February.

The bureaucrats are demanding an apology from Kejriwal for the incident.

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