New Delhi: Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday hit back at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for ridiculing and calling him Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s man, saying such remarks were unbecoming of the head of a government.
The four-page missive from Jung came a day after Kejriwal shot off an angry letter following the Lt. Governor’s decision to reject the appointment of Swati Maliwal as the chief of the Delhi Commission for Women, accusing Jung of working at Modi’s behest and deriding his claim of his being the government in Delhi.
“I must say that the tone of your letter leaves me deeply disappointed. Such inappropriate references vis-a-vis the prime minister do not reflect well on the chief minister of a union territory.”
“Your letter, being in public domain, leads to unsavoury and avoidable comments not just within the country, but also overseas,” he said, adding Kejriwal had clearly misunderstood the context in which Jung had described himself as the government.
Jung said the chief minister seemed not to understand the information conveyed through his July 21 letter “wherein the formal definition of government has been enunciated” as per statutes including the clarification issued by the central government in 2002 which reads “government means the Lt. Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi” appointed by the President under the Constitution’s Article 239 read with Article 239AA.
“By no stretch of imagination does this mean that the government can function outside the domain defined in the constitution, a document drafted by the best minds of our country. It simply means that Delhi, being not a state, is a union territory, and the Lt. Governor is a representative of the President of India, and indeed the government of India.”
Jung also clarified that he never intended to undermine the post of chief minister and had cooperated with Kejriwal, who has accused him in intervening in the work of the AAP government.
“It has never been the intent of this office to negate the position of the Chief Minister or the authority of the elected government and I have always agreed on your proposals on non-reserved subjects where the Lt. Governor is to act on the aid and advice of the chief minister and his council of ministers,” the missive said.
“To state further, I do not recall any matter of policy or decision taken by you where I have not agreed to your proposal.”
He reiterated that he intended to give him full cooperation and to ensure the success of the government and to enable it to fulfil the promises made to the people of Delhi.
“I remain committed to this end,” Jung said.
He suggested Kejriwal not to fritter away the massive mandate his party had got in assembly polls this year.
“Here I wish to state that at a later point of time, you and I should not look back at this moment when you have won such a massive mandate and see it as a wasted opportunity in any way.”
He also cited an Urdu couplet to drive his point home.
“Ye jabr bhi dekha hai taarikh ki nazron ne. Lamhon ne khata ki thi sadiyon ne saza pai.”
However, Jung officiously asked Kejriwal to send him the file of decisions which were cleared by the chief minister without his approval. He said with his stamp, decisions “could expose the government to legal challenge”.
In the letter, Jung also said he had no reservation over Maliwal being appointed at the post, but directed Kejriwal to send the file again since the due process of law was not followed earlier.
“Along with your letter, I have received the file pertaining to the appointment of Swati Maliwal. I am sure you have done due diligence in selecting Maliwal and the other members, and I would have no hesitation in confirming the appointment based on your recommendation,” he wrote.