The media loves to talk about Arvind Kejriwal’s never ending association with controversies. The latest is his letter to Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung accusing him for acting ‘unconstitutional’ regarding the appointment of Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting chief secretary of Delhi government.
The Delhi Chief Minister has expressed his strong disapproval over the ‘questionable’ decision of bypassing the democratically elected Delhi government due to ‘political pressures’, subtly indicating the Lt Governor’s loyalty towards the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government at the centre.
In a letter, as reported in the Financial Express, he said , “I am simply aghast by your questionable instructions issued directly to the Pr. Secretary (Services) to post an officer of your choice as the acting Chief Secretary of Delhi. In doing so, you have bypassed the democratically elected government”.
“May I request to kindly cite the relevant Article of Constitution of India, or the provision of Government of NCT of Delhi Act, or Transaction of Business Rules, which gives you such extraordinary powers to bypass and attempt to render the democratically elected government ineffective and directly run the government through the Secretaries to the Government,” he questioned.
Delhi Power Minister Satyendra Jain also came out with a letter to the Chief Minister, dated May 5, 2015 which suspected Shakuntala Gamlin of being a lobbyist to the Reliance owned power companies. He wrote that Gamlin had been vouching for a loan guarantee of Rs 11,000 crore in favour of Reliance, which would have made Delhi govt liable to pay if defaulted.
On the other hand, Najeeb Jung gave out his clarification in a press release which said. “The Lt Governor has acted fully conscious of his duties and responsibilities under the Constititution of India. Till date not a single action taken by the Lt Governor’s Secretariat is in non-conformity with the provisions of the Constitution. In the instant case, the Hon’ble Chief Minister was duly consulted on file and the relevant note sheet is in public domain. The delay on the part of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of over 40 hours necessitated a direction from the Lt Governor that orders be issued. It is a given that the office of the Chief Secretary cannot be left vacant.” He also expressed regret against insinuation of a respected senior civil servant like Shakuntala Gamlin.
Interestingly, Kejriwal got support from former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah who tweeted that government should be able to appoint its own officers.
Like it or not, right choice or wrong a CM must be free to choose his or her own team of officers. This back seat driving damages democracy.— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) May 16, 2015
The war of words between the two powerhouses has taken an ugly turn. Gone are the days of love and friendship in which Najeeb Jung used to get paranthas for the dharna-loving Chief Minister of Delhi. The controversy has put the government in the back foot once gain. But it is ‘just another’ day for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party. The party undoubtedly holds the dubious distinction of being ‘in news’ always for all the wrong reasons.