Showing no signs of relenting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday ruled out negotiations to end the stand off with the Centre and threatened to flood Rajpath with lakhs of supporters that can disrupt Republic Day celebrations.
Demanding action against policemen who refused to carry out a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution ring on a Delhi minister's directive last week, he continued his dharna for the second day near the Rail Bhavan not far from Raisina Hill, the place from where the Republic Day parade starts.
He ruled out any negotiations to end the protest, saying the safety of women in the capital is not a matter of negotiation.
"The people protesting here are not Pakistanis or Americans. They are our own people. Shinde is saying that we will celebrate Republic Day, but for whom? The VIPs will watch the floats and parades. That is not Republic Day.
"We will continue our protest. How can Home Minister (Sushilkumar) Shinde sleep when so many crimes are happening in Delhi? When women are unsafe in the city? We won't negotiate," Kejriwal told reporters.
Attacking Shinde for ruling out action against police officials who refused to raid the alleged drug and prostitution ring, he said, "I would urge him not to back his men but back the people of India”.
"The lower level police officials are with us. A man resigned and came to join us. He had tears in his eyes. Another man who was shouting slogans in our favour has been suspended. There will be a rebellion in Delhi Police too," Kejriwal claimed.
He questioned the Delhi Police advise to them to shift their protest to Jantar Mantar.
"I am being told to sit at Jantar Mantar. I am the Chief Minister. I can sit wherever I want. Who are they to tell us what to do? He is not the Chief Minister of Delhi. Who is Shinde to say where the Chief Minister of Delhi will sit," the Chief Minister said.
Said to be having cold and running mild fever, Kejriwal was accompanied by his wife during the sit-in today.
Unlike Monday, hundreds of AAP supporters thronged the venue of the dharna outside Rail Bhavan in the high-security area.
Along with his six cabinet colleagues and scores of supporters, the Chief Minister spent the night under the quilt on the road outside the Rail Bhavan, braving the cold winter.
Some of his supporters spent the night singing and raising slogans around a bonfire
He objected to the Delhi Police ordering closure of some metro stations close to the protest site.
"Shinde has closed the metro stations. I had told the metro officials to run the metro. They said they cannot do it as Delhi Police has closed it. Shinde is causing inconvenience not us. He has closed all of Delhi and metro. There are very few of our protestors here," he said.
Kejriwal said politics will now be run by these unconventional methods.
Image: Arvind Kejriwal addresses supporters during the dharna in New Delhi
Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters