NEW DELHI: After being banned from entering the Delhi Secretariat, the media boycotted a news conference of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday, the first working day of the new Arvind Kejriwal Government. A huge posee of police force inside the Delhi Secretariat was visible and five layers of security had been provided to Kejriwal inside the Secretariat.
Sisodia came to address the press conference at 5 pm, but journalists boycotted it and forced him to leave it mid-way. Sisodia, a former journalist himself, was supposed to hold the briefing after Kejriwal chaired his first Cabinet meeting.
When he came down, questions were raised about banning media entry but he did not respond which led to complete chaos and eventual boycot of his media briefing. In addition to it, the Kejriwal Government has banned the common man’s entry into the Players’ Building.
Several people came to meet the new ministers and bureaucrats between 11 am to 1 pm, the time scheduled for public grievances, but none of them were allowed to enter the premises.
The AAP leadership feels that mediapersons were too ‘intrusive’ and were hampering the functioning of the Government. “Without appointment, entry will not be allowed,” a circular issued here read.
Flaying the AAP move, BJP MLA Vijender Gupta said the AAP Government’s arrogance was evident and it was the murder of transparency in democratic process.
Similarly, Congress leader Ajay Maken tweeted: “Banning the media from Secretariat, AAP committing same mistake as BJP in the Union. Fight corruption-be more transparent first.”
In his speech after taking oath on Saturday, Kejriwal too had attacked the media for targeting his government. “We had said that there would be no red-beacon vehicle for ministers in the Delhi Government. Now the media is raising questions on us for taking government vehicles. If we won’t take vehicles, how will we work,” he asked. He had been accusing media of being biased and prejudiced for the last one year.
Earlier, the AAP had banned entry of media persons into Players Building in December 2013 during his 49-day rule. The matter was resolved after media-persons protested againstthe decision as they thought it was an attempt to muzzle the press.
Z Security Cover to Kejriwal
Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi met Kejriwal to discuss the security arrangements of the Chief Minister. Kejriwal has been provided Z security cover the day he became the CM. “The security of the Cabinet as well as the Chief Minister is our responsibility,” Bassi said. He also said that if the protected person was not comfortable with certain systems, they tried to reorganise them so that it did not hinder his or her day-to-day activities.” “During his 49-day tenure, he was given Z security cover. This time also, the same security cover is being given,” said a senior police officer.