Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung – The War Of Letters
Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung are locked in a bitter turf war. The legislative body and the press, government and the media, are two of the four estates of Indian democracy. Their existence is almost interdependent. While often the government berates the media for propagating the wrong image, other times it uses media for reasons unknown to anyone but the government itself. This is what is happening the LG- CM row now.
For the past few days, Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung have been caught up in a war of letters. Why the letters have been released to the media is a mystery. This war started when Kejriwal started his term for the first time in 2014 and accused the LG for showing bias towards the BJP government. And now the war is continuing even after a year, when he has again won the elections with a heavy mandate. The issue currently being discussed is the appointment of the DCW chief, Swati Maliwal.
The CM appointed Swati Maliwal, the chief of Delhi Commission for Women. This step was taken in the wake of the increasing number of crimes against women in the capital. Just as the appointment was confirmed by the CM, Jung expressed opposition to it, claiming the right to decide the key appointments for Delhi. He expressed displeasure at not being consulted for the decision. In the letter that the LG wrote, he claimed that the government in Delhi meant the LG.
While the comment astounded many, the CM Mr. Kejriwal found it laughable. He in his response said that the government is chosen by the people. He was perplexed as to how a person could call himself the government. Kejriwal, while right in pointing out that a single person cannot mean the government in a democracy, also made some remarks that didn’t go down too well with the LG. He had said that he was elected by the people of Delhi as the leader and that Jung works as the “puppet” of the Prime Minister. Through his comments he clearly implied that the LG had deliberately challenged the Delhi government in order to interfere with its working at the behest of the Prime Minister. He also alleged that the PM was trying to make the DCW ineffective just as he had made the ACB ineffective.
To these criticisms, Jung replied by first stating how inappropriate the remarks were. He said that they hampered with the dignity and honor of the country. According to him, it doesn’t show well on the image of the Chief Minister to make such inappropriate remarks about the Prime Minister. He also said that it was never his intent to negate the authority of the Cm. He backtracked by saying that he was merely quoting the legally established definition of “Government” as stated in the statute book. According to the definition in article 239 and 239AA of the constitution, Lg is the delegate of the president and therefore, the president and central government act through him in Delhi. He adopted a conciliatory tone in his letter after the pleading one of the CM. The CM in his letter had requested Jung to review and sing the file for the appointment of the DCW chief. Jung, although returned the file saying that it needed processing. Kejriwal again retaliated by saying that the DCW is out of the jurisdiction of the LG and by asking for the file, he is being undemocratic and the act is equal to blackmailing.
While the Najeeb Jung pledges to show full cooperation to the Delhi government, the CM believes he is there to see it fail. As the banter is becoming a kind of a routine, the governance in Delhi has come to a standstill. None of the warring parties seem too keen on resolving the matter, with the AAP government charting its own course and the LG unwilling to concede.
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