In a surprise move, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung resigned on 22 December. Appointed in 2013, Jung put in his papers just three-and-a half-years into his five-year tenure as the administrative head of the National Capital.
A surprising turn of events
Speculation is rife about whether he will get another assignment from the Central government. However, the grapevine has it that he may have fallen out of favour with the Centre finally.
Also read - Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung resigns
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mahrishi claimed that even he was taken by surprise by Jung's decision. "The L-G met me day before yesterday but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the L-G is scheduled for Friday (tomorrow)... I have come to know about his resignation only through media," Mahrishi reportedly said.
Who will take up the mantle?
Several names are doing the rounds as to who would take over. Former bureaucrat close to the Centre Anil Baijal and the former Commissioner of Delhi Police BS Bassi, who is presently serving as a member of the Union Public Service Commission, are said to be in the fray according to reports.
Baijal's name was earlier doing the rounds for the governorship of disturbance ridden Jammu and Kashmir, something Jung was also said to be lobbying for according to insiders. For now NN Vohra seems to be firmly in charge of Jammu and Kashmir.
Back to school
Jung claims that he has resigned to go back to academics - his "first love". Another official from his office says he wants to spend more time with the family.
"He thanks the Prime Minister for all help and cooperation he received during his tenure as the Lt. Governor," a statement from his office says. However, Jung's association with academics has been brief when he served as a fellow with the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies. He has more administrative experience than academic from serving as the Vice Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi.
After resigning as joint secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas in 1999, Jung served with the Asian Development Bank and also as the director, Energy Research at the Observer Research Foundation, a Reliance Industries funded thinktank.
Jung, a former IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh Cadre, has enjoyed a good working relationship with the Centre despite being appointed by the previous UPA II government. He has also continued to constantly confront the AAP government in Delhi, with almost a running battle since the Arvind Kejriwal government came in with a sweeping majority.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "Sh Jung's resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in his future endeavours." Kejriwal, in an earlier tweet, trying to pour cold water on Jung's probable ambitions, had said that no matter what the L-G does, PM Modi would not appoint him as the next vice president.
BJP, meanwhile, put the blame on the AAP government. Vijender Gupta, the leader of opposition in the Assembly has claimed that Jung was upset with the state government. Congress has called his exit unceremonious even as Congress leader Ajay Maken asked, "Was he removed to bring someone who is close to RSS? Was it done considering the upcoming municipal polls? Jung is an able administrator."
A tenuous relationship
L-G Jung had a very difficult relationship with the state government. So much so that at one point AAP leaders called him a king who was spreading dictatorship in the national capital.
The run-ins with the state government go back to the days when AAP formed the government with the help of Congress. The first confrontation happened over the contentious issue of Lokpal. Jung had termed Kejriwal's move to table the bill in the Assembly as unconstitutional, since the Centre had not vetted it. The State government had later resigned.
During Kejriwal's government's present term, the confrontation came to a head over several issues of appointments of officials. When Kejriwal wanted Ramesh Negi as the Chief Secretary, the Union government appointed Sanjeev Nandan Sahai instead.
There were several other disagreements over appointments, especially in the Anti Corruption Bureau. The AAP government had even moved the High Court and the Supreme Court over who holds administrative control of the capital even as it continued to blame the L-G for the failing law and order situation of the capital. That control over the police rests with the L-G was the chorus all through Jung's tenure.
However, Bassi as L-G may also be tricky for the AAP government. The former Delhi Police Commissioner, too, during his tenure was in a combat mode when it came to allegations of the state government, and did not shy away from taking action against AAP MLAs, something the latter termed as a witchhunt.
Edited by Aleesha Matharu