Delhi(PTI): The confrontation between Delhi Lt Governor and the AAP government on Saturday intensified with…
Delhi,Azaan Javaid: The day was marred with allegations and counter allegations with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia even going to the extent of accusing the BJP of using the L-G’s office to attempt a “coup” against the state government. The CM himself wrote a scathing letter, later in the day, to the L-G asking him “to uphold the Constitution, whatever be the political pressures”.
The ongoing turf war between Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal reached its crescendo on Saturday with senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin defiantly taking charge as acting chief secretary despite being asked not to do so by the AAP government, which had accused her of earlier lobbying for Reliance-owned power companies. The confrontation took an even more serious turn when Kejriwal tweeted that he had sought an appointment with the President to apprise him of the situation.
The day was marred with allegations and counter allegations with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia even going to the extent of accusing the BJP of using the L-G’s office to attempt a “coup” against the state government. The CM himself wrote a scathing letter, later in the day, to the L-G asking him “to uphold the Constitution, whatever be the political pressures”.
In the letter, Kejriwal said he was ‘aghast’ at the questionable instructions given to principal secretary (services) by the L-G’s office. He also attached a note by Delhi power minister Satyendra Jain in which he had accused Gamlin of lobbying for Reliance-owned power firms. The situation further got complicated when Parimal Rai, who was apparently backed by Kejriwal, declined the post of acting chief secretary, stating he respects the L-G’s directive. AAP maintained that they had not backed any candidate and had suggested to the L-G that the position be allocated on the basis of seniority.
Refusing to comment further on the developments, Gamlin said on Saturday that she “was only following the official orders”.
Gamlin had earlier complained to the L-G that she was being intimidated and blackmailed by the CM’s office and had named Rajendra Kumar specifically of trying to blackmail her after she was told to take additional charge of the chief secretary as the current CS, K K Sharma, had proceeded on a 10-day leave to the US.
Despite the AAP government’s reservations about Gamlin, the L-G instructed the secretary (services) to give her the additional responsibility, and on Saturday she took the charge officially.
To make matters worse, Anindo Majumdar, the principal secretary (services) whose office issued the name of Gamlin for the post was relieved from all his duties and replaced with Rajendra Kumar whom Gamlin had accused of allegedly intimidating her.
In its response to the sacking of Majumdar by the AAP government, the L-G’s office said, “It has also been reported that the principal secretary (services) has been removed from his position. This does not have the approval of the lt governor, who is the competent authority to transfer officials of that rank. This order is ab initio void.”
Meanwhile, the AAP government went ballistic throughout the day with the opposition parties too jumping into the fray.
“The BJP, through the L-G, has attempted a coup against a democratically-elected government. This is for the first time that the L-G is issuing direct instruction to officers, bypassing the chief minister and council of ministers,” Sisodia said.
“The Constitution, GNCT act of Delhi and Transaction of Business Rules clearly define what the L-G can do. In case of a dispute or difference of opinion between L-G and council of ministers, the L-G could have called the minister concerned to discuss the matter,” Sisodia added.
Jung had on Friday rebutted AAP government’s allegations saying under Article 239 AA of the Constitution of India, the governor is the representative of State Authority in Delhi and that it was regrettable that the name of Gamlin, ‘a woman officer from North-East’ was being dragged into the matter.
Meanwhile, a senior bureaucrat told dna that the top rung of government officials was clueless about the situation resulting in a lot of misinformation within the departments. “The decision of writing letters, transferring officials and so on is being done behind closed-doors. We have no clue whatsoever. There have also been conflicting reports in the media as well,” said the bureaucrat. It remains to be seen how the recent spate of confrontations will effect decision-making capabilities of the government with such a huge rift between the bureaucracy and the top leadership of the AAP regime.