Aam Aadmi Party National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal now believes that hunger strikes are ineffective.
Interacting with a group of teachers from All Guest Teachers Association teaching in different government schools and paid on daily basis, who have been sitting on a dharna for around three weeks at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, Kejriwal said: "Hunger strike won’t help you. Don't trouble your body. I used to do this for 15 days and then I finally decided to enter politics."
The teachers have been demanding renewal of the services of around 10,200 teachers, increase the age limit to be eligible for selection under the scheme and fix a permanent salary for the group. A small group among them have called fast unto death unless their demands are met. Kejriwal met them and persuaded them to end the fast.
When the protesting teachers asked what the former Delhi chief minister could do for them, he said he could join them on dharna, but that would not help achieve any purpose.
"It looks like by sitting here you won’t get any respite by the BJP government. You should meet the Lt Governor or the Minister."
This assumes significance because Kejriwal's career prior to forming a political party and even while he was the chief minister was marked with several dharnas and hunger strikes.
Assuring support to the teachers, he said that while AAP was in power the government had set up a committee to look into this and if his government comes to power he will solve their problems.
Kejriwal also took two teachers to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hopsital as their condition was deteriorating.
Interestingly, a section of protesting teachers, somewhat agitated, also questioned Kejriwal on whether he would lead a rally to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's office, which the teachers have planned. He again extended his support.
"Politicians will keep coming to assure their support because the elections are round the corner and these parties will indulge in mudslinging. He could have solved our problem while I was the chief minister. We are suffering because of the wrong policies of the Delhi government.”
"He has promised us to help in front of the media. We told him that if you want to help us, then come and join us in our protest. We will see if he helps us," Deepak Kumar (32), one of the teachers, said.