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Kejriwal vs Jung: A power play, again

Unsubstantiated allegations against the chief secretary weaken Arvind Kejriwal’s case against her appointment

comment Updated: May 18, 2015 22:50 IST
Hindustan Times
Delhi chief minister,Arvind Kejriwal,Narendra Modi

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal feels that the Narendra Modi dispensation wants his government to fail. But, by all accounts, Mr Kejriwal is doing a pretty good job of ensuring that his government is caught in a gridlock thanks to the endless controversies. The latest is the imbroglio, concerning the appointment of an acting chief secretary.

Mr Kejriwal is on strong grounds when he says that the CM ought to be consulted on such a senior appointment and that the lieutenant governor has bypassed the elected government in pushing through the appointment. The L-G denies any violation of constitutional norms in the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin to the post.

However, Mr Kejriwal has weakened his own case by making unsubstantiated allegations about the officer to the effect that she was close to discoms. These are serious allegations and if the Delhi CM had such reservations, he should have come up with proof instead of making the whole thing so public. To make matters worse, the minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju has waded in and alleged that the AAP government was insulting the people of the North-east since Ms Gamlin is from Assam.

This is needless and suggests that Ms Gamlin’s main qualification is her state of origin rather than her service record. Now that she has assumed office, we are likely to witness some amount of confrontation between her office and that of the CM. Since perception matters a great deal in politics, Mr Kejriwal’s assertions that corruption has gone down under his regime do not seem to be getting the attention they should.

He has also made remarks to the effect that he would be keeping tabs on Ms Gamlin. It is unfortunate that the CM has chosen to make this somewhat threatening remark about a senior officer whom he will have to work with.

The confrontation with the L-G and the Centre seems to give the impression that Mr Kejriwal is eager to blame everyone else but his own government for the lapses in governance. Delhi has several problems that need to be addressed.

Since the power over things like law and order vests with the Union home ministry, there have to be viable mechanisms for dialogue between the state government and the Centre. But at the moment, there is very little sign that this is going to happen any time soon.

First Published: May 18, 2015 22:45 IST