The Aam Aadmi Party has asserted that Delhi’s next chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will have no problems in working with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung who remained in AAP’s line of fire last year for ‘pushing’ for an ‘illegal’ BJP government.
After AAP quit the government in February last year and till the assembly was dissolved eight months later, Kejriwal and some of his colleagues had called Jung a ‘BJP agent’. They accused him of encouraging horse-trading by allowing the saffron party to take a shot at government formation without the requisite 36 MLAs.
Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia told HT: “Let’s see. I don’t think there will be any coordination issues. Jung is quite likeable. I find some of his thoughts very inspiring.” Sisodia, who is considered close to Kejriwal, clarified: “When you find someone’s actions objectionable, you express it. It’s part of democracy and political requirement.”
For Kejriwal to effectively run Delhi, a quasi-state, he needs to be on the same page as Jung, who is the reporting manager for the civic agencies, police and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The municipal agencies and police force come under the Union home ministry. The Union urban development ministry controls DDA.
The L-G has greater interference in Delhi because he reports to the union home ministry. In other states, governors have limited roles in the functioning of local governments.
Government sources said AAP’s landslide mandate will ensure there is basic statecraft and necessary coordination. Chief minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal will take oath on Saturday after AAP won a historic 67 of the 70 seats, up from 28 in 2013. “Jung is already reaching out,” said a source.
AAP’s national secretary Pankaj Gupta told HT: “We are going to work together. I don’t see any issues.”
Even when Congress ruled at the Centre and also had a state government in Delhi, then chief minister Sheila Dikshit did not have the best of equations with the then L-G. This time it’s a matter of two rival parties. And Kejriwal and Jung have had a history of confrontation.
Kejriwal is already trying to break the ice. He along with Sisodia on Wednesday met Union home minister Rajnath Singh and Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
The AAP leaders urged both to consider the granting of full statehood to Delhi, adding that his party wants a constructive relationship with the Centre. Both ministers assured their full cooperation.