The tenure of Najeeb Jung as the Lieutenant Governor saw Delhi’s complex administrative structure stretched to the limit with unprecedented rancour marking his relationship with the elected Aam Aadmi Party government.
The Arvind Kejriwal dispensation, having won a brute majority in the February 2015 election, repeatedly accused Jung of “stalling” governance and acting at the BJP government’s behest and as the “agent” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
But, Jung steadfastly maintained that he was merely following the constitutional provisions in letter and spirit and asserted at one point that “in respect to the NCT (national capital territory) of Delhi, the government means the Lieutenant Governor of the NCT of Delhi”.
Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court’s verdict came as a shot in the arm for Jung as it stamped his primacy as the city’s administrative head. However, the ruling AAP has challenged the order in the Supreme Court.
The die was cast during AAP’s 49-day-stint spread across 2013-14 as the dispensation had clashed with Jung over his objection to the tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly. The party also referred to Jung’s stint with business house Reliance to caste aspersions on his decisions.
In AAP’s second term, the first stand-off occurred within days of Jung appointing senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary of the city government in June 2015, notwithstanding strong reservations by Kejriwal who termed the decision as “unconstitutional”.
Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) became another sticking point with the body being headed by two simultaneous heads at one point, LG-appointed M K Meena and the other, S S Yadav, authorised by the AAP government.
As matters came to a head over the appointment of Swati Maliwal as Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief in July 2015, Jung proclaimed, “In respect to the NCT (national capital territory) of Delhi the Government means the Lieutenant Governor of the NCT of Delhi.”