AAP has sunk to a new low, and must forthwith apologise

Even by the low standards set by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in its three-year rule, the happenings of the last couple of days, when no less than the Chief Secretary of Delhi was roughed up by AAP leaders and the AAP remained brazen about the assault, are indeed disgraceful. We are now being asked to believe by AAP apologists that the Chief Secretary is lying; that while there was an exchange of sharp words between party leaders and him, there was no assault; that the National Capital Territory of Delhi’s senior-most bureaucrat made racial slurs on one of the Legislators; and that all this was a conspiracy hatched by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led regime at the Centre in connivance with the bureaucrats. Nothing could be sillier.

The Chief Secretary is not a greenhorn, who does not know the etiquette. He has worked in various capacities in his long career with different people at the Executive. It’s far-fetched to imagine that he would actually provoke a group of hostile MLAs in the presence of the Chief Minister, at the Chief Minister’s residence, and that too close to midnight. The Chief Secretary, Anshu Prakash, does not have a track record of irresponsible conduct. But his allegations against the Legislators, which he has made in a first information report (FIR) to the police, are more believable because the AAP has a sordid record of trying to browbeat officers into submission — failing which it has flung slander at them.

The Government of Arvind Kejriwal seems to have had a problem with lots of bureaucrats, and for reasons that do not stand scrutiny. It had tiffs with the then acting Chief Secretary Shakuntala Gamlin, former Chief Secretary MM Kutty, a PWD Secretary, former Special Secretary (Prosecution) Keshav Chandra, and many others. AAP leaders levelled all sorts of wild allegations against these officers. The latest incident, however, takes the cake. At least two AAP Legislators assaulted Anshu Prakash, threatened to eliminate him, said they would confine him to the room until he approved the advertisement spend of the Government to mark three years of the regime’s completion, and promised to level false cases against him if he didn’t cooperate. The incident could be a turning point because the various officers’ associations have taken the matter seriously and decided to virtually boycott the Government until an apology is forthcoming and action initiated against the offending MLAs. This is not a mere confrontation between the bureaucracy and the Delhi Government; it is unbridled goondaism by the ruling party. It cannot go unpunished.