LG Najeeb Jung should clear air on Delhi govt formation

People of Delhi deserve to know what the lieutenant-governor is mulling – transparency, not silence, is the antidote for all conspiracy theories and chaos

shantanu

Shantanu Datta | July 17, 2014


Najeeb Jung and Arvind Kejriwal at the latter`s swearing-in in January 2014.
Najeeb Jung and Arvind Kejriwal at the latter`s swearing-in in January 2014.

It’s been months since Arvind Kejriwal resigned as the Delhi chief minister. While winter gave over to spring, which, in turn, sprang summer on us, and monsoon has now officially checked in, what has remained constant all along is the clamour over the government formation. Both the formation process and the product – who exactly should form it, and how to go about it.

While Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been raising the horse-trading bogey for long, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been equally vocal in rubbishing that claim. On Thursday (July 17), Kejriwal fired out a tweet at 8.11 am: “Sources-Despite public outcry, LG likely 2 invite BJP 2 form govt 2day. BJP will accept it.....”

He followed it up with four more tweets in as many minutes, stating that the BJP does not have the required number of MLAs to form government, and questioning whether lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung should invite the party “without prima facie satisfying himself” about the numbers.

Three more tweets between 8.24 am and 8.45 am changed the dart board, the attack shifting from the BJP to the LG office, ending with an Arnab Goswami-esque “Wud LG save his chair or the constitution - nation will keenly watch.”

The BJP big guns came into the game soon – around noon. According to an ANI tweet, union home minister Rajnath Singh said, “BJP never indulged in horse-trading, nor will we ever indulge in it.” Subsequent tweets quoted fellow minister Nitin Gadkari: “BJP hasn’t made any decision to form the Govt in Delhi right now”. Gadkari, who was the party’s former in-charge for the city-state, and senior Delhi BJP leader Nalin Kohli also tore into Kejriwal’s claims, according to the agency.

“Making baseless allegations is his old habit, why doesn’t he come out with names? This is just a publicity stunt,” the agency quoted Gadkari as rubbishing Kejriwal’s charges. Kohli said, “When LG was eating paranthas with Kejriwal what happened then? Kejriwal shouldn’t make allegations to be relevant in media”.

Kejriwal later tweeted that he has “sought an appointment from LG for all AAP MLAs to meet him today”, though reports said the L-G declined the offer and might meet them on Monday.

In this open season of charges and counter-charges, what seems amiss – and totally out of sync with the times – is the LG’s near-complete silence on this issue. No one wants a government that even smacks of horse-trading; where people would always have the nagging suspicion that some or the other – and in this case a few – have been bought over; that money/suitcases changed hands. But that would certainly be a sore point in whichever party/alliance forms the government next.

Jung should realise silence breeds more conspiracy theories. The people deserve transparency; it’s their immediate future that’s being discussed here, not Jung redoing his modular kitchen. It’s a state government that is in question, and the people of Delhi deserve some light thrown on all the allegations and counters going around.

One does not expect the LG to hit the Twitter on a regular basis – but even that should not be held as non-characteristic of a person in constitutional authority, as Narendra Modi proved it the best as, first, the chief minister of Gujarat and now as the prime minister. Even president Pranab Mukherjee’s office has gone on Twitter.

What stops the Delhi LG from doing the same is anybody’s guess, but the Delhi electorate certainly deserves a statement or two from Jung for the sake of clarity and transparency – be it the good old-fashioned press conference/statement way or the new-age social media way.

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