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Delhi Turf War: While Kejriwal and Jung exchange blows, it is the bureaucrat who gets quashed

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Image courtesy: Jagran

By Gaurav Sharma

The Delhi turf war, involving Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is reaching its crescendo with the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) knocking the doors of President Pranab Mukherjee, hours before the CM was scheduled to meet the President.

After making a visit to the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the L-G met the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed the stand-off that has rocked the executive.

For the past few days, Jung and Kejriwal, the city’s top two authorities have been locked in a bitter confrontation over the appointment of senior bureaucrats, with the Aam Aam Party not shying away from accusing Jung of bypassing an elected government in its ‘rightful’ attempt to place officers of its choice.

The heated battle was reignited after Principal Secretary Anindo Majumdar was removed from office and replaced by CM’s Secretary Rajendra Kumar. Hours later, the new appointment was declared as void by the L-G.

Subsequently, a red-faced AAP government threatened to not comply with the “unconstitutional” orders and intended on speaking with the President. Some TV reports suggested that Kejriwal had appointed Arvind Ray general administration department secretary, in place of Majumdar.

“Your directions are against the provisions of the law and the Constitution. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will apprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the issue,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia wrote to the L-G.

While the L-G refuses to budge from his position and maintains that he is the main authority in dealing with transfer and postings of senior bureaucrats, eminent lawyers back Kejriwal as the supreme authority in the matter.

Demolishing Jung’s claims, Senior advocate Indira Jaising observes, “There is no provision granting the L-G the power to act at his own discretion in the matter of appointment of the chief secretary.”

Almost echoing Jaising’s views, Supreme Court lawyer Rajeev Dhawan says that Kejriwal has the ‘perfect right” to choose a chief secretary of his choice and the current crisis has been created by the L-G.

Others, however feel that the real reason behind the removal of Majumdar from office is the issuance of a letter of appointment to Shakuntala Doley Gamlin against the CM’s wishes.

Kejriwal went ahead and further accused Gamlin of favouring power companies, an allegation that has come under sharp criticism from Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, as being insulting to the people of North-East.

The confrontation, which has transfused into a  full-blown war, has already seen the embarrassing lock-out of a senior IAS officer in Majumdar. It is a case in point of the dismal way in which bureaucrats are treated in the country.

When the honest bureaucrats who are the real architects behind the smooth functioning of the country as a well-oiled machine, are subjected to such deeply humiliating gestures, it speaks volumes about the dictatorial attitude that the political representatives espouse.

The Delhi turf war is but a ‘war of egos’ , in which the real work-horses of the administrative machinery are toyed with as mere puppets. Denigrating such high-ranking officials only serves to throttle the vibrant democracy that is India.

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Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

A big blow to the Aam Aadmi Party after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs

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Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia commons
Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia Commons
  • The EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the ‘office of profit’ pretext
  • AAP looks forward to approaching the Delhi High court
  • The controversy started after Prashant Patel had submitted an application to the President

The Election Commission has recommended the disqualification 20 AAP MLAs. The EC found them guilty of holding an ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President. If cleared, the disqualification would mean that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will reduce from 67 to 47.

The 20 AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government. The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.

The party now looks forward to approach the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation be struck down. Wikimedia Commons
The party now looks forward to approaching the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation is struck down. Wikimedia Commons

“This is unprecedented. The MLAs in question didn’t get a chance to present their case before the EC. In fact, we didn’t hear the news from the EC, but news channels,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said.

ALSO READ: Anna Hazare comes out in open support about Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

Opposition parties have demanded the immediate resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of Delhi on moral ground.

The ‘office of profit’ controversy had started after a lawyer, Prashant Patel, had filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office. It questioned the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

The Congress had filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 as a follow-up, based on this application. The opposition party sought disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.

Kejriwal had appointed MLAs in March 2015 and his government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015. Wikimedia Commons

AAP had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no monetary benefit attached to it. But then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, declaring them illegal since the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.

ALSO READ: Discontentment in the Aam Aadmi Party is resulting in Resignation and withdrawals from the party

In the first reaction to the EC recommendation, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:

Here’s the list of 20 MLAs who have been recommended to be disqualified: 

1. Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli)
2. Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar)
3. Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)
4. Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)
5. Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)
6. Sanjeev Jha (Burari)
7. Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)
8. Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)
9. Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)
10. Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)
11. Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)
12. Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri)
13. Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar)
14. Manoj Kumar (Kondli)
15. Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)
16. Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)
17. Vijendar Garg Vijay (Rajinder Nagar)
18. Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)
19. Sharad Kumar (Narela)
20. Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)