Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came under fierce criticism in Monday for leading a dharna with outside supporter Congress saying a government cannot be run from the streets and opposition BJP calling the protest "anarchic and a gimmick".
In an unprecedented action that put his government on a collision course with the Delhi Police, Kejriwal and his ministers began a dharna outside Rail Bhavan demanding action against police officials who refused to carry out a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution racket in South Delhi last week.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde asked Kejriwal to maintain the dignity of the office he holds.
"He should maintain 'garima' (dignity) of the chair of chief minister and wait till the judicial probe is completed. After all he is a chief minister...,(which is) a high post. He should cooperate," Shinde told reporters in Delhi.
AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh said the bureaucrat-turned-activist-turned politician must realise that no Government can be run by staging dharnas (sit-ins).
"Kejriwal must understand that a government is run through Assemblies or Parliament and from the streets of any city," he told reporters in Bhopal.
It was the Delhi Police's duty to maintain law and order in the national capital, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said. "Will the police garland him if the honourable chief minister of Delhi wants to sit on a dharna without permission, which can disrupt peace?" he asked.
Both Kejriwal and the AAP should not interfere in the working of the Delhi Police which should be allowed to do its duty, said Singh, whose party is extending outside support to the 24-day-old government formed by the fledgling outfit.
Aam Aadmi Party's "countdown" has begun, Congress said as it hit out at Arvind Kejriwal for his agitation targeting Delhi Police and alleged that he was trying to shift responsibility, wondering who will run Government if the chief minister sits on dharna.
Party spokesperson Meem Afzal said, "A wrong message has gone among the people with the step that Kejriwal and his party took. I think their countdown has begun. People do not like this.”
"When they have give you power, you have to bring changes through that and not through agitation and procession. If the chief minister sits on dharna, who will run the government."
Das noted that a chief minister should have faith in the system. "Even if he does not believe in the system, he should change it instead of shouting and making allegations in the streets or through media. He is trying to divert his responsibility."
He added that instead of shouldering responsibility, the Delhi chief minister was trying to shift it on somebody else.
The Congress spokesperson also said that instead of making allegations, Kejriwal should follow the process if he has sufficient material against somebody. He said that there is a chief minister's office to pursue these things, Lokayukta and CBI to hold investigations and that Kejriwal should utilise them to punish the corrupt.
"You can go on shouting but unless material evidence is given in due process and at proper forum, even the courts cannot punish anyone," Das said.
AICC secretary Sanjay Nirupam asked Kejriwal to stop indulging in "drama" and instead concentrate on governance.
Nirupam said that Kejriwal as a chief minister could resolve issues by negotiating with the Centre.
His view was shared by BJP.
"The situation we have seen today on the streets of Delhi is anarchic. This is a mock-fight between AAP and its ally Congress. Such an agitation -- which is taking place near Rajpath where the Republic Day rehearsals are on -- affects the aam admi (common man) and both the parties are responsible for it," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She said the issues being flagged by AAP are important but the manner in which it has gone about it is not acceptable.
"This is a government which is like a fish out of water in the Delhi secretariat and is hence out on the streets reliving its activist days rather than running the administration," Sitharaman said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar refused to comment on Arvind Kejriwal sitting on a dharna, but said it would rest on the wisdom of a chief minister to deal with a situation where he had no control over the police.
"Delhi has a peculiar condition where the state does not have control over police which rests with the central government," Kumar told reporters after 'Janata Darbar'.
Image: Police detain a supporter of Aam Aadmi Party during a protest in Delhi Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters