New Delhi: A full blown verbal war has broken between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung over the appointment of Acting Chief Secretary – the senior most bureaucrat in the Delhi government – Shakuntala Gamlin, which the former said in a written letter to Jung was ‘unconstitutional’.
Shakuntala Gamlin was appointed Friday as Acting Chief Secretary – the senior-most bureaucrat in the Delhi government – by the Lieutenant Governor. She ignored Kejriwal’s request to refuse that post, and took office on Saturday.
Kejriwal sacked Delhi Principal Secretary, declaring an all out war against the bureaucracy and Lt. Gov Jung.
Kejriwal’s government said Lieutenant Governor has violated the Constitution with Gamlin’s appointment in a case of blatant administrative over-reach. The Lieutenant Governor acts as the representative of the union government in the capital. On Saturday, Kejriwal wrote to the Lieutenant Governor, saying Jung had “opted not to follow the law but tried to take over government” despite the presence of a clear procedure.
“I urge you to remain within confines of the constitution and laws relating to the government,” the letter said.
The chief minister tweeted that he has sought an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee to “apprise him of Delhi’s situation.”
Gamlin begun work in her new position; sources close to her said that she believes ignoring the Lieutenant Governor’s decision would be “dereliction of duty.”
They also confirmed that Gamlin has complained in writing to Mr Jung about the Delhi government’s attempts to discredit her.
The Delhi government, in a media statement released Friday, said Gamlin “was perceived to be extremely close to electricity companies in Delhi and was lobbying for their interests.”
In response, a statement from Jung’s office said, “There was nothing on file submitted to the Lt. Governor that indicated that the government had anything against Gamlin and the Lt. Governor regrets the name of a senior officer being brought in public domain in such a manner, that too a lady officer and one belonging to the North East.”
Kejriwal has feuded with Jung repeatedly, accusing the Lieutenant Governor of acting on the orders of the union government and the ruling BJP instead of playing a non-partisan role.