Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung’s resignation may have come as a surprise for Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal. However, this is not the end to woes of Kejriwal, who is locked in a virtual war with the Centre over the issue of full statehood to Delhi. Though the capital has been given the status of a state, it doesn’t enjoy same powers as other states of the country. The Centre, through the L-G, controls Delhi Police, law and order and issues related to land in the capital. On August 4, Delhi High Court made it clear that the national capital is a union territory and L-G has the authority over matters to be looked after by the Centre. The AAP government then went to the Supreme Court and a decision in this regard is expected to be announced by the apex court in January.
Jung’s tenure was marked with an escalation of tensions between his office and Kejriwal government, with the latter accusing the former of working as a “puppet” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kejriwal has also been recurringly accusing the Centre of not letting the Delhi government function.
With Jung’s sudden resignation, Kejriwal would now be more wary of the Centre. More so because he is already engaged in a verbal war with Modi government over the issue of demonetisation and the alleged corruption charges against the PM. While Jung was appointed by the then Congress-led UPA government on July 9, 2013, it is now expected that Centre would appoint someone more loyal to the BJP as the new L-G of Delhi.
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The Delhi L-G versus Kejriwal fight was unprecedented. There has never been so much struggle for power under previous governments in the national capital. The demand for full statehood to Delhi is in itself questionable, and apparently unreasonable, as Delhi is the seat of country’s Parliament and the city has prospered over the years with the existing governance mechanism. Moreover, the capital is populated by people from all parts of the country and there isn’t any sense of regionalism among residents as seen in other states like Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra etc.
After submitting his resignation today, Jung thanked Kejriwal, Modi and people of Delhi. The bitter Jung-Kejriwal battle is over but only for the L-G who will have the last laugh when he joins academics — his first love.