The decision of Najeeb Jung to quit from post of Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has left many bewildered but now it seems that the move may not have been as sudden as it was thought to be. Jung had decided to quit 18 months before his eventful tern ends. The development was crucial given Delhi’s complex administrative structure. However, 15 days before he resigned on December 22, the 20th L-G, in an order, had directed Delhi government bureaucrats not to bypass ministers and deal “directly with him, according to The Indian Express report. Jung’s nearly three-and-a-half-year tenure was marked by frequent run-ins with the AAP government. Jung’s clash with Arvind Kejriwal even frequently reached the doors of judiciary.
Since the Delhi High Court’s ruling on August 4 that Delhi was a Union Territory under L-G’s authority, Jung had directed all government bureaucrats to send each file to the L-G’s office. The move had only increased the prolonged confrontation with Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government. But on November 15, Jung while responding to a petition by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who claimed officers were bypassing his authority. “Attention to L-G was invited by minister with regards to… submission/ marking of files by department heads and chief secretary directly to L-G vis a vis downwards bypassing the minister in charge,” the communication stated, according to the report.
The communication added, “In this regard, L-G vide his endorsement has consented and agreed to the effect that officers may not be encouraged to bypass the minister concerned and deal directly with L-G… and also that all files be handled and routed properly through office of minister concerned.” The directive took many by surprise. “The L-G had been strictly reinforcing his administrative powers over the elected government. But in hindsight, it seems he had started winding up the work days before he resigned,” said a source.
Watch this video
Notably, L-G and the AAP government have been at loggerheads over a range of issues even as the prickly relationship between Jung and Kejriwal has grabbed eyeballs as well as made headlines. The Arvind Kejriwal dispensation, having won a brute majority in the February 2015 election, repeatedly accused Jung of “stalling” governance and acting at the BJP government’s behest and as the “agent” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. So, it will be interesting to see whether Baijal, if he becomes the L-G, can handle these issues successfully or not.