NEW DELHI, May 19: The turf war between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutent Governor jeeb Jung reached the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday, with both meeting President Prab Mukherjee separately to accuse each other of violating the Constitution and overstepping respective jurisdiction. The slugfest between the two has led to a constitutiol crisis-like situation in Delhi.
Hours before Kejriwal was to meet the President by appointment, Jung suddenly called on the President and apprised him of the ongoing tussle over the appointments of key bureaucrats in the Delhi government. Earlier the Delhi LG had also met Union Home Minister Rajth Singh to give his version about the stand-off with the AAP government.
Kejriwal then met the President along with deputy Manish Sisodia, who later told mediapersons that the LG was functioning as if there is President’s Rule in the tiol capital and there is no elected government there.
“Despite having a democratically elected government, the LG is bypassing the Chief Minister and ministers and issuing instructions to officers. He is even threatening them with transfers if they do not follow his orders. If this goes on, where is the democracy?” said Sisodia.
The appointment of Shakuntala Doley Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary of Delhi has triggered the worst confrontation between the LG and the AAP government that stormed to power in February. Sisodia and Kejriwal informed the President that despite their objections, Jung insisted on appointing Gamlin. “We later approved (her me) ... but now (Jung) is interfering in the appointment of secretaries too”.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Tuesday obliquely took the Delhi LG’s side, with Fince Minister Arun Jaitley saying the Kejriwal government has let down Delhi’s voters. “Primarily development works have to be expedited but the AAP government has instead chosen a path of confrontation,” he told a BJP meeting.
AAP spokesman Ashutosh then hit back, saying Jaitley, who “ran away” from Delhi to contest the Lok Sabha election from Punjab, was now insulting the people who voted for the AAP.
The AAP government had earlier leveled allegations against Gamlin of lobbying for power companies, a charge she refuted strongly. This was followed by Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju lambasting the AAP government for indulging in ‘character assassition’ of a senior and capable IAS officer.
The AAP government was unfazed however, getting the Delhi Principal Secretary (Services) Anindo Majumdar locked out of his office on Monday, reportedly for issuing orders confirming Gamlin’s appointment. Not just Majumdar, other officials from adjacent rooms in the entire wing were locked out on the CM’s orders.
On Monday itself, the Delhi government deputed Kejriwal’s secretary Rajendra Kumar to take charge of Majumdar’s departments. The LG retaliated by cancelling Kumar’s appointment and reinstating Majumdar.
In yet another act of defiance, the AAP government med Arvind Ray, an IAS officer removed by the LG from the post of Secretary (Home), as the Secretary (General Administrative Department).
The LG has been all along maintaining that he has the power to appoint and transfer the bureaucrats and none of his actions has been ‘unconstitutiol’ as was being alleged by the AAP government.
There have been differences between Kejriwal and Jung over a range of issues, with Kejriwal alleging that Jung is trying to take over his administration.
Meanwhile, upping the ante against the LG yet further, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has called a meeting with the Chief Secretary and all other Secretaries on Wednesday, ostensibly to cite rules under which the tiol capital is administered and ask them to follow the Delhi government’s directions, according to sources.
This came a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal issued an order to all department heads to apprise him or the minister concerned about any oral or written order from the LG or his office before following them. (Agencies)