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Kejriwal unveils picket-and-rule policy

Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi, Jan. 18: Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal today vowed not only to carry out his threat to stage a dharna outside the Union home ministry but also to govern from the protest site if his ultimatum against Delhi police was not met by Monday morning.

A chief minister squatting on dharna outside Raisina Hills’ North Block, where the Union home ministry is housed, will be an unprecedented sight. Kejriwal has been demanding the suspension of four police officers who refused to act against women accused of being sex workers and drug peddlers by Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti.

“You need unprecedented and out-of-the-box ideas if this country is to be saved…. This country has seen lot of precedents. If the police have to be freed from the Union home minister’s control, the chief minister has to sit on a dharna,” Kejriwal told a TV channel.

The chief minister declared that he would run the government from the dharna spot, stating that agitation and administration would go side by side.

Asked, how the government would be run if the chief minister sits on a dharna, Kejriwal said: “Dharna bhi karenge aur sarkar bhi chalayenge…. Files wahi se sign karenge” (Will stage the dharna as well as run the government also…. Files will be signed at the dharna site itself).”

He, however, refrained from committing himself to whether the dharna would be indefinite. “Let’s see… we will decide,” he said.

Ministers Bharti and Rakhi Birla had gone on midnight raids with party volunteers and fought with the police for not acting on their directives. Bharti charged the police with not acting against an alleged drug-and-sex racket run by foreigners and Birla asked the police to arrest a woman’s in-laws for allegedly burning her.

Kejriwal today defended the “vigilantism” of his ministers and slammed the police. “Everybody knows that sex-and-drug rackets are run with the active collusion of the police. Rapes happen because the police are busy extorting money…. They have to be punished…. Heads must roll,” an angry Kejriwal said in the interview.

He has demanded that the Delhi police, like in other states, should be put under the control of the state government.

The Delhi police report to the Union home ministry, not the state government. Delhi, also the seat of the federal government, is not a full-fledged state and still has many features of a Union territory, such as a lieutenant governor. Besides, since there are several high-security people and installations in the capital, the Centre has preferred to retain control over the police, although law and order is a state subject.

Kejriwal said the ministers went out in the winter night as a number of people had complained. “For the first time ministers have left their homes in the winter night and went with the people. It should be appreciated,” he said.

The chief minister and his colleagues had called on Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday and demanded suspension of the four police officers.

Till tonight, the Centre has not shown any inclination to accept the demand.

Kejriwal used the interview to speak of the “unprecedented” achievements of his regime in just 21 days and said no government since Independence had such a record.

Kejriwal, who had earlier claimed no interest in contesting the Lok Sabha election, indicated he could change his mind. “I am personally against contesting the Lok Sabha polls but I may contest if it is needed,” he said.

Delhi helpline

Delhi police have decided to establish a helpline where any foreign national can call to register a complaint. The move follows the alleged vigilantism of Bharti.