The pawn is gone: Najeeb Jung quits

But Delhi governance is unlikely to become smooth

GN Bureau | December 22, 2016


#home ministry   #Aam Aadmi Party   #Bharatiya Janata Party   #Arvind Kejriwal   #Narendra Modi   #Governance   #Delhi   #Najeeb Jung  
Najeeb Jung
Najeeb Jung

Najeeb Jung, a key player in the battle between the Narendra Modi government at the centre and Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal government, sprung a surprise and quit as lieutenant governor on Thursday. 

 
He submitted his resignation to the centre, though immediate reports cited no reasons for the move. A statement from Raj Nivas says Jung offers thanks to both Modi and Kejriwal. It says he wants to return to academics.
 
Jung was appointed to this position on July 9, 2013 – by the UPA regime. Between 2009 and 2013, the career bureaucrat and IAS officer was the vice-chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia university.
 
He started hitting the headlines regularly after the Aam Aadmi Party returned to power in February 2015 with a stunning majority and set up a challenge to the Modi government.
 
Delhi is not a full-fledged state. It is more like a union territory in many respects, and thus the LG – appointed by the union home ministry – wields various powers here. Yet, never before did Delhi witness a running feud between the elected government and the LG, even when two opposing parties were in power in Delhi and the centre.
 
Kejriwal’s stridently aggressive stance against the Modi government contributed in it as much as the centre’s wish to keep him from becoming Modi’s nemesis. Meanwhile, a Delhi High Court judgment this year said the LG need not act in consultation with the state government, effectively granting him more powers. (This has been challenged in the Supreme Court.)
 
This led to a unique situation in which an unelected appointee can override the elected government’s decisions. For example, at the Delhi Commission for Women, there are two member-secretaries, one appointed by the LG and the other by the Delhi government. The resulting situation was not conducive to governance, of course, and Delhi bureaucrats told tales of files not moving and payments long pending.
 
Jung’s sudden departure, however, is not likely to ease the governance scene in the capital. As Kejriwal has emerged as one of the few strong challengers to Modi, the centre is likely to keep him in check. Jung’s successor can only be more efficient in this business than him.
 

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