Caught in the crossfire between Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, top bureaucrats on Wednesday wondered whose orders they should follow even as the AAP government asked them to discharge their duties in line with constitutional provisions, without any fear or apprehension.
At a nearly three-hour-long meeting chaired by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, a number of bureaucrats talked about the difficulties being faced by them due to the ongoing confrontation between the AAP government and Jung.
Kejriwal, who attended the meeting briefly, asked the officials to work according to provisions of the Constitution and without any fear or apprehension.
A number of officials spoke about their "confusion" as the relationship between AAP government and LG deteriorated further in the past few days. They said it was important to maintain a working relationship between the two sides.
Sources said Sisodia assured the bureaucrats that a detailed guideline will be issued soon on dealing with various issues, particularly those where LG's office has a role to play.
Transport minister Gopal Rai, who also looks after the General Administration Department, was also present in the meeting besides acting chief secretary Shakuntala Gamlin. The meeting called by the AAP government to have a "correct and coherent understanding of the constitutional provisions and other norms in handing administrative affairs".
In a directive on Monday, Kejriwal had asked the bureaucrats including the chief secretary to first consult with him and other ministers about any communication from the LG before acting on such directions.
In the meeting, Sisodia asked the bureaucrats not to "blindly" follow Jung's orders. A senior official said there was a healthy exchange of views in the meeting.
The sources said Sisodia told the bureaucrats about his government's views on the tussle with the Lt Governor, maintaining that it was committed to follow the provisions of the Constitution and other laid down norms in ensuring efficient governance and exhorted them to work with full enthusiasm.
The meeting came a day after both Kejriwal and Jung took their bitter fight to President Pranab Mukherjee, accusing each other of violating the Constitution and overstepping their respective jurisdictions.