Centre throws weight behind Jung, Kejriwal calls move ‘backdoor’ rule
The NDA government threw its weight behind Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in the spat with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday, saying he was well within his powers to make senior bureaucratic appointments.
As the no-holds-barred turf war between the Capital's two most powerful men intensified, the Union home ministry issued a gazette notification saying services, public order, police and land fell under the lieutenant governor, who may consult with the chief minister on services using his discretion.
The Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, which romped to power winning 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly elections in February, has been at loggerheads with Jung after he appointed senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Doley Gamlin as acting chief secretary last week against the wishes of the chief minister.
Kejriwal, a former revenue officer whose AAP was born out of massive anti-corruption protests, accused the Centre of trying to run the Delhi government by proxy, saying it had stabbed the people of the city in the back with the notification.
"The Narendra Modi government is trying to run Delhi with three BJP MLAs through the backdoor," he said, reacting to the notification. "Pre-independence, the Queen of England used to send notifications to the Viceroy here. Now, Jung saheb is the Viceroy and the PMO is London."
He said the Centre's move showed the nervousness of the ruling BJP at the Centre over the anti-corruption efforts by his government.
"Earlier, a lot of money was changing hands for transfers, but that has ended under the AAP government's three-month rule. Now, Congress and BJP people fail to get contracts in Delhi. So they went to the PMO," he said.
"Now, they have brought this notification as the BJP and Congress want to have their own officers in Delhi … and that is why they want control over the transfer-posting industry through the L-G."
His remarks reflected deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia allegation on Thursday that the AAP government has been under attack because "it had stopped the practice of taking money to assign lucrative posts to bureaucrats".
Interestingly, the Centre's notification said Delhi's anti-corruption branch (ACB) cannot take up offences against central government employees, making it clear that the state government's authority was limited to the national capital.
It is an amendment to a previous notification which curtailed powers of the ACB after it registered an FIR on a gas-pricing issue during Kejriwal's 49-day rule in 2013.
The scramble for controlling the city stems from Delhi's complicated position as a Union territory functioning as the Capital. The state government has no power over a number of important departments and agencies that function under the lieutenant governor, who reports to the home ministry.
With the tussle between Kejriwal and Jung over the appointments of officials reaching President Pranab Mukherjee, legal luminaries were sharply divided on the stand taken by the two sides.
The latest twist in the battle between Kejriwal and Jung, who have a history of bitter confrontation, came a day after home minister Rajnath Singh briefed the Prime Minister on the issue, after getting legal opinion on the matter.
(With agency inputs)
Heavy traffic was seen on Najafgarh Road, Zakhira flyover, Sarita Vihar underpass, Bawana industrial area, Civil Lines, Rohini, Deoli-Khanpur, and also at Rajgarh Colony in Shahdara area due to religious processions and waterlogging.
The arrival of monsoon was declared on Thursday, when it began raining early in the morning. From 8.30am on Thursday to 8.30am on Friday — the period between the two morning hours is how IMD classifies its 24-hour period — the city recorded 117.2mm. Normally, Delhi records 210.6mm of rain in July. Throughout Friday, there was significantly less rainfall, and the maximum temperature at the Safdarjung weather station (considered representative of Delhi’s) settled at 31.9°C, 2.5 degrees more than Thursday.
Fresh recruitment will be done via an open selection process for these newly converted posts. Those occupying the posts will not qualify to be permanent without participating in the open selections. Officials said that the LG has asked concerned officials to process the filling of vacancies and upgradation at the earliest, unduly pending for years.
The BA.5 is overtaking other Omicron lineage coronaviruses in several parts of the world, reinforcing early signs that it has a growth advantage after having triggered new waves in some regions. Dr Ekta Gupta, professor of clinical virology at Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), said, “At ILBS, we have reported seven-eight cases of BA.5 so far. This is out of the samples we received from across the city.”
The decisions were taken in the meeting of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Friday at the Delhi secretariat and a government official later said the move was in line with the Arvind Kejriwal government’s larger vision of cleaning the Yamuna.