Arvind Kejriwal’s message to bureaucrats in Delhi came with this warning – ‘we are here for another 10-15 years’.
At an event to mark Civil Services Day on Tuesday, the Chief Minister cautioned bureaucrats against playing politics with elected representatives, saying it “downgrades” the government’s credibility.
“We can tolerate anything but we will not tolerate politics. If you are interested in politics, then resign, contest elections and confront us,” he said.
His own government, Mr Kejriwal stressed, was here to stay.
“My government is fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Delhi. People are happy and if the government continues this way we aren’t going anywhere for 10-15 years. You may like it or not, but we are here for 10-15 years. Those officers who are above 45 have no choice,” he remarked.
Since Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) returned to power last year with a massive mandate, its working relationship with bureaucrats has been less than warm. Much of the friction has been caused by AAP’s tussle with the Centre over the control of key departments in Delhi.
In December last year, many officers went on a day’s mass leave in solidarity with two DANICS or Delhi Andaman and Nicobar Civil Service officers, who were suspended for “insubordination”.
Referring to that strike just before the start of the odd-even trial on January 1, the Chief Minister said: “Nobody approached the government and our party knows about strikes and protests. This is usually the last resort after all talks have failed. In this case, there were no talks. The strike was political.”
Mr Kejriwal said civil servants should become part of his “honest and transparent” government and serve the people of Delhi.
“This government may be anything, but dishonest. This government is working for the poorest of the poor. There may be many with ideas and dreams, this is the time for you to do something. Last year, I asked all of you to give me ideas. I have not received a single one,” he said.