Delhi(PTI): As the battle escalated, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his bitter confrontation with the Lt Governor even as he accused the Centre of using Najeeb Jung to run the state.
On his part, Jung, a former bureaucrat, carried on his offensive against Kejriwal declaring all appointments made by the AAP government without his approval as invalid. After Kejriwal wrote to Modi asking him to allow the AAP government to work freely, Jung stepped up offensive against the Delhi CM, terming as “unconstitutional” his order asking officers to put up files directly to Ministers.
Jung also asserted that some directives by the AAP government have tended to “obfuscate” the special position that Delhi has as the national capital. In a letter to Kejriwal, Jung asserted that he was the sole authority to appoint and transfer IAS, DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) and DASS (Delhi Administrative Subordinate Services) cadre officials. The DASS cadre employees included peons and clerks.
A day after he met President Pranab Mukherjee regarding the “unilateral” appointments of key bureaucrats by the LG, Kejriwal in the letter to Modi said the elected government must have a say about distribution of work to senior officials.
“In Delhi, the central government is trying to run government unconstitutionally through the Lt Governor. Let Delhi government function independently,” Kejriwal said in the letter to Modi. In his communication to Kejriwal, Jung told him that all the appointments made by the AAP government without his approval in the last four days were not valid, insisting that he was the sole authority in matters of ordering transfer and posting of bureaucrats.
In a prompt reply to Jung’s letter to him, Kejriwal asked the Lt Governor to elaborate the provisions in the Constitution, the government of NCT of Delhi Act and Transaction of Business Rules that give him powers to issue such directions.
Meanwhile, caught in the crossfire, top bureaucrats wondered whose orders they should follow. At a nearly three-hour 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.
Kejriwal, who attended the meeting briefly, asked the officials to work according to provisions of the Constitution and without any fear or apprehension. The bureaucrats met separately and condemened the “politicisation” of the appointments issue. In an address at an event, Kejriwal said “everybody has got united against us. Yesterday, I went to meet a senior lawyer who told me that he had seen on news channels that everyone is against us (AAP Government) but public is supporting us.”In the meeting with senior bureaucrats, Sisodia assured them that a detailed guideline will be issued soon on dealing with various issues, particularly those where the LG’s office has a role to play.
The meeting was 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 also asked the bureaucrats not to “blindly” follow Jung’s orders. A senior official said there was a healthy exchange of views in the meeting.
Signalling a hardening of his stand, the LG’s office said Raj Niwas has received copies of some orders and communications from the AAP government in the past few days which have “tended to obfuscate the special position that Delhi has, as the national capital, which is significantly different from other states”.
“In a communication to the Chief Minister today, the Lt Governor has clarified the constitutional position wherein the Lt Governor is required under the Constitution and through the delegation of powers made to him by the President of India, to act in his executive capacity, in his discretion, in consultation with the Chief Minister where deemed necessary,” the statement said. Jung said Kejriwal had asked the bureaucrats to put up all files, including even those in which the Lt Governor has exclusive jurisdiction in his executive capacity, to the Ministers. “The order of the Chief Minister to officers is in violation of this basic distinction,” it said.