New Delhi : A full-blown war erupted today between Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with both challenging each other’s authority over the administration following a bitter confrontation on the appointment of an acting Chief Secretary for 10 days.
Hours after senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin took charge as acting Chief Secretary despite being asked not to do so by Kejriwal, the fight flared up as he shot off a strongly-worded letter to Jung, asking him to work “within the confines” of the Constitution and alleging that he was trying to take over the administration.
The Lt Governor hit back at Kejriwal blaming him for the delay in appointment of an acting Chief Secretary and revoked Kejriwal’s order transferring Principal Secretary in Services Department Arindam Majumdar, who issued the appointment letter to Gamlin at the instructions from Jung.
Jung had on Friday appointed Gamlin to the post despite strong opposition to her nomination by the Kejriwal dispensation which alleged that she had close links with BSES discoms. The 1984-batch officer has, however, denied the charges saying they were baseless.
The AAP government also attacked the BJP accusing it of attempting to stage a coup through the LG.
In his letter to the LG, Kejriwal mentioned about various rules and laid down procedures for governance and said, “Despite such clear procedure, you have opted not to follow the law but have tried to take over government and get the order issued directly by the Principal Secretary (Services) who I believe was intimidated into acting in concert with you. “I cannot but conclude that this is a thinly disguised attempt to reduce the democratically elected government ineffective and administer the National Capital Territory of Delhi directly.”
The Chief Minister said he has sought an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee to apprise him about the issue.
After Kejriwal’s letter, Jung said he has “acted fully conscious of his duties and responsibilities under the Constitution 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.”
A release issued by Jung’s office said the Chief Minister was duly consulted on the issue of appointment of the acting chief secretary and added that the relevant notesheet was in public domain. The Union Home Ministry, meanwhile, steered clear of the controversy.
“The Home Ministry has nothing to do with it. The Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister are competent enough to handle the situation,” Union Home Secretary L C Goyal told reporters. MORE PTI BUN SSH MPB PYK RT 05162026
LDALL LG 2 “The delay on the part of the 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. The Chief Secretary is required not just for normal work but for any emergency that may come up,” it said.
On AAP government’s allegations against Gamlin, it said the Lt Governor’s Secretariat regretted the “insinuation” against a respected senior civil servant and the complaint will be examined as per procedure. About removal of Majumdar, it said the order “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.” Following LG’s rebuttal, Kejriwal took to the twitter and asked “Should a person perceived to be very close to bijli cos be made CS of Del? Shud elected CM have no say in selection? (sic)”