New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) The war between Delhi’s AAP government and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung escalated dramatically on Tuesday, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to “destroy” the national capital.
A Delhi government official, meanwhile, told IANS that the Kejriwal government would approach the Supreme Court this week against a Delhi High Court order of August 4 giving primacy to Jung in Delhi’s affairs.
The day began with Jung announcing the transfer of Delhi Health Secretary Tarun Seem and PWD Secretary Sarvagaya Srivastava who were overseeing the construction of Mohalla Clinics and classrooms in government-run schools.
After the August 4 court ruling, the Delhi government had specifically urged Jung to let these two officials continue in their posts till the end of March 2017 so that work in the health and education sectors wasn’t hit.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal immediately tweeted that Modi was “hell bent” on “destroying” Delhi through Jung, whose office however termed the postings of the officials lllegal.
“Today, several officers transferred by LG directly. Files not even shown to CM or any minister. Is this Modi model of democracy?” Kejriwal asked. “Modiji is hell bent on destroying Delhi through LG.”
Kejriwal asked mockingly: “Modiji who got three seats in Delhi will run government? And 67-seat AAP is now opposition?”
The situation worsened when Jung, later in the day, named a three-member team to examine over 400 files submitted to him by the Delhi government since High Court ruling of August 4.
“This is witch hunting. Like they arrested (AAP) MLAs on false cases, they will victimize officers now,” Kejriwal said.
“Let an independent three-member committee scrutinize all files cleared by Modiji also and let us compare the results,” Kejriwal added.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused Modi of derailing the Delhi government’s development work.
The transferred officials were involved in increasing the number of Mohalla Clinics — primary health centres — across Delhi and boosting the number of classrooms in government schools.
Sisodia said: “I came to know, from reliable sources, that Modi himself called up the LG and asked him to make the transfers.”
Health and PWD Minister Satyendra Jain said Jung was hell bent on stopping every work of the AAP government.
Jung’s office clarified that the postings of Srivastava and Seem were illegal and against government of India’s cadre rules.
“Srivastava and Seem were holding posts as Secretary (PWD) and Secretary (Health) respectively in the government as additional charge in violation of existing rules when cadre posts cannot be held by non-cadre officers for more than three months,” a statement from LG’s office said.
Suggesting “suitable cadre officers” as Secretary PWD and Health, the statement said Srivastava would continue to serve as Engineer-in-Chief of PWD.
The three-member team formed by Jung is made up of V.K. Shunglu, a former Comptroller and Auditor General, N. Gopalaswami, a former Chief Election Commissioner, and Pradeep Kumar, a former Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
The committee has been told to submit its interim reports and recommendations to Jung from time to time and to submit the final report within six weeks of the first meeting.
“The three-member committee is an independent committee of eminent persons who have been in public life for several decades and have held high positions in the government with supreme integrity and absolute probity,” a statement from Jung said.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy slammed Jung saying he was not suitable for the post and recommended a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member in his place.
Swamy tweeted: “In my opinion, this LG of Delhi is unsuited for this high post. He is another 420 like Kejri. We need a Sangh person in Delhi.”