Babus caught in the middle of AAP, L-G power battle

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2015 04:24 IST

The arrest of 48-year-old Jitendra Singh Tomar, MLA from Tri Nagar and a first-time minister, comes in the middle of a tussle for power between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung.

According to senior Delhi government officials, the recent transfer of home secretary Dharam Pal by the AAP government will further damage the delicate relationship between the bureaucracy and the government. The move may also hit development work in the city as the Lieutenant Governor has jurisdiction over land.

“The already strained relationship is being damaged every single day. The fear of being shunted out or transferred haunts bureaucrats daily and it will definitely affect their functioning. They are being forced to take sides, which is not a healthy trend. They will have no option but to delay decision-making,” said a source.

Sources said that due to the tiff between the Lieutenant Governor and AAP government over routing of files, officials will have no option but to sit on them rather than getting into another confrontation.

“If we do not send the files to the L-G, we will be going against the rules and if we do send it then we will be upsetting the chief minister. In such a situation, officers will prefer not to take decisions at all which will affect policy work and development work in the city,” said a senior Delhi government official.

Sources further said that due to a healthy relationship with the L-G’s office earlier, getting land from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) used to be an easier task, as the Lieutenant Governor is the chairman of the authority.

“There have been times when the L-G’s office has made extra efforts to ensure land is provided for key infrastructure projects including bus depots, construction of school buildings etc. In today’s scenario all that seems difficult,” said a senior Delhi government official.

A number of bureaucrats said they cannot afford to go against the orders of the chief minister as he was the immediate boss of the city government. However, at the same time, they were also unable to ignore the orders and directions of Najeeb Jung as he was the functional head of the government and the GNCTD Act 1991 stipulates that the L-G is the government in Delhi.

“A number of senior officials are finding it quite difficult to adjust themselves in the current scenario due to trust deficit between the government and the bureaucracy,” added the source.

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