Fight between Delhi CM and LG reaches President’s doors

Rajat Kain

File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

Both the feuding sides in Delhi politics, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung met with the President Pranab Mukherjee over an on-going stalemate between the two. LG Jung met the President in the afternoon, while Kejriwal accompanying his deputy Manish Sisodia met the President at 6pm in the evening. The bitter stalemate has been brewing between the elected head and a constitutional head since last week over the appointment, removal and reinstatement of the bureaucrats at senior positions.

Speaking to the press after meeting with the President, Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said, “President Pranab Mukherjee has assured us that he’ll look into the matter”.

Lending hints of what they must brought up in the meeting, he added “We accepted LG’s decision to appoint acting Chief Secretary without consulting us but after that too, he has been appointing officers bypass”.

Delhi CM Kejriwal has now called a meeting of top officers at the state secretariat on Wednesday morning.

The confrontation between the two escalated Monday night as Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia wrote to LG Nejeeb Jung telling him that any direction from his office cannot be complied with. Hours after, the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too passed written orders sternly directing all the officers of Delhi government to apprise him of each and every order passed by the LG or his office. The CM Office will decide, if an order from LG Office be followed or not.

Taking a bitter feud few notches ahead, Deputy CM Sisodia had written to LG Najeeb Jung on Monday evening saying, “your directions are against the provisions of law and Constitution and therefore cannot be complied with”.

Following up his deputy, Arvind Kejriwal declared, “it is hereby ordered that any direction or order, whether oral or written, received from Honorable LG or his office to the Chief Secretary or any administrative Secretary, shall first be submitted by the concerned administrative Secretary/Chief Secretary on the file to the Minister in-charge and the Chief Minister for a decision”.

“As you are aware the Chief Secretary and the Secretary of the department are severally responsible for the careful observance of the TBR under rule 57. Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary and heads of department are directed to strictly adhere to this order,” Kejriwal added.

Taking on AAP over its newest controversy, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley criticised the functioning style of the Kejriwal-led government.

“The people of Delhi experimented with a new party in the elections, but its a very costly experiment. Governance is not AAP’s political agenda,” the Union Minister told a gathering of BJP leaders in Delhi.

AAP had stormed the Delhi assembly polls in Februray this year, winning 67 out of 70 seats. The results which were called ‘a miracle’ by AAP, was seen as a huge backing of a nascent party by the people of Delhi. But soon after the polls, AAP and its chieftain Arvind Kejriwal have found themselves mired with controversies; both inside and outside the party.

“AAP has such a huge mandate, they must understand their responsibility and that people want governance, not controversies and disputes. But if they can’t, then it is also our responsibility to make them understand,” Arun Jaitley added.

Arvind Kejriwal’s former colleagues, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav who had a bitter and public ouster from AAP, too described the stalemate in Delhi unfortunate but backed their former party’s argument of supremacy of an elected government.

“In principle, Swaraj Abhiyan believes that the choice of a democratically elected government should be respected by Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor. But the politics of personal allegations, brinkmanship and dragging of the bureaucracy into petty political fights is unfortunate,” read the statement issued by an outfit floated by Yadav and Bhushan this morning.

On the other hand, the legal fraternity seems to be a divided lot, with some backing the CM office in having a say on appointing the state’s Chief Secretary and some siding with the stand taken by the LG of Delhi.