The Delhi L-G’s comments, a proxy in the Centre’s shadow war with Kejriwal, could precipitate a crisis
Delhi lieutenant-governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung’s claim, that his office is the “government” of the national capital territory (NCT), is perhaps the lowest volley launched in the jung (Urdu for war) of words (through letters, mostly) the L-G has been having with the Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal. To be sure, Jung is just a proxy for the Centre, with which Kejriwal is locked in a shadow political turf-war, making constitutionally untenable demands for full statehood for Delhi and for NCT government control of the Delhi Police. But he has acted out the part with more vigour than required, and has, in fact, created a political crisis of sorts in the process.
The AAP government in Delhi is a democratically elected one while Jung is an appointee to the L-G’s chair. So, if Jung is indeed the government, why did the Centre waste so much money holding Assembly elections in Delhi in the span of 14 months? The L-G, if at all, is acting more loyal than the king , pandering to political masters at the Centre—after all, he is one of the handful of UPA-appointed governors retained by the NDA government. The latest round in the Kejriwal-Jung battle was precipitated by the Delhi government appointing the chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) without consulting the L-G. Much like the appointment of the acting chief secretary for Delhi, where the L-G appointed Shakuntala Gamlin of his own accord, Jung striking down the DCW appointment is an appalling subversion of a government elected by the people. While the L-G needs to know that his office is, indeed, “not” the government of Delhi—the gazette notification of the Union home ministry which he cites to prop his claim actually states that the L-G derives his powers from the President—the BJP-led Centre, on which the L-G is clearly backing for under-the-wraps support, needs to make sure that its over-eager wingman doesn’t precipitate a Constitutional crisis in the national capital.