We Go Along Well But Differences Shall Remain: LG on Kejriwal

\"There was President rule for one year. I could have done the same but I did not have the courage to do so,\" he said.

Published: 12th April 2016 12:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2016 12:26 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has the room to "interpret" the Constitution unlikethe Lt Governor who has to "protect" it and the AAP chief makes comments like "agent of BJP" against him for "political reasons", Najeeb Jung said today, in his first response over the fraught relationship between the two.

Speaking on a wide range of issues, Jung said enforcing the odd-even scheme for fifteen days every month would be "very difficult" as it would put enormous strain on the metro system and the policing apparatus which cannot be "sustained".

On the issue of 21 AAP MLAs appointed as Parliamentary Secretary's appointed by the government, Jung said Kejriwal had taken an "risk" and "it was for all to see".

"By definition when we look at the statutes of Delhi, then the office of the Parliamentary Secretary is defined as an office of profit. Schedule 7 says that Delhi can have one Parliamentary Secretary and that's an office of profit," Jungsaid.

He said that if the Centre does not approve the Bill sent by the Delhi government to regularise the posts, the MLAs may be disqualified. "That is true," he said when asked if the MLAs may face disqualification

Jung, who took over as Delhi's LG in 2013, identified Article 239 of the Constitution, which makes the LG the "repository" of government's powers and the agent of the President, as the "heart of the problem".

Asked during an interview about Kejriwal describing him as dog, Jung said such language was unbecoming of a Chief Minister of Delhi and may be he was carried away for which he has never apologised.

He said many of Kejriwal's comments, including describing him as the "agent of BJP",  may have "political reasons" as "he (Kejriwal) thinks he has a constituency out there which is attracted to these kind of statements but in all honesty we know the truth."

"His oath to the constitution is different from mine. His oath is to abide by the constitution while my oath is to protect and defend the constitution. The oath to abide by the constitution gives him the latitude to interpret the constitution.

"Till today I have not varied from a line or a comma of the constitution. So we have differences and will continue to have differences," Jung told in an interview to Karan Thapar of India Today TV.

Jung said on personal terms, he and Kejriwal go along well and that the Chief Minister cares for him.

"I think he cares for me. He has dined with me, I have been to his house. In don't think there is anything personal between us. Arvind is not a friend of mine but we get along absolutely well," he said.

Asked how they will go along in the next four years, Jung retorted "Who knows who will be there for four years. Will I be there or will he be there. It's que sera sera. Let's see what happens."

On odd-even, which is set to return to Delhi on April 15, Jung said that it's first phase did not have any "impact" on pollution levels but it "certainly" impacted the flow of traffic.

"The jury is out on this one. We need to see how this meet with success over the period of time but I would give it a try...There was President's rule in Delhi for one year, I could have done the same but I did not have the courage to do so. I would give him time to succeed, if he fails, does not matter we can go back to the old scheme of things," Jung said.

On the issue of appointing Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary, Jung said the government had sent him a note sheet recommending appointment of a junior bureaucrat to the post.

"Deputy CM sent a note sheet signed by him and CM giving a list of officers by way of seniority and that had Gamlin as the senior most civil servant. At the bottom of the list in his hand the deputy CM had said the sixth name may be chosen.

"He was the junior most who had been posted to Delhi and had not even joined. I replied saying he has not even joined the Delhi govt and that would not be correct. In civil service we largely go by seniority and she is way too senior," he said.

On shoe attack on Kejriwal as well ink throwing incidents, Jung said Kejriwal is adequately protected and that his level of security is just one shade less from the PrimeMinister and Sonia Gandhi.

"Kejriwal hates security around him and in a small gathering unless I insist to keep people away a hundred or two hundred metres away I cannot prevent or police cannot prevent somebody throwing ink on him or throwing a shoe.

"I view the ink throwing seriously as there could be acid in that tube. His security is a cause of concern," he said

On second phase roll out of the odd even scheme, he said Kejriwal has taken a political decision and he would give time to him.

"There was President rule for one year. I could have done the same but I did not have the courage to do so," he said.

"Why I did not do it? We don't have adequate public transport. We put enormous pressure on the metro system for two weeks. There is a compromise on security and we should not be doing that. Where are buses? They were supposed to add 1,000 buses and they have not done even one I think," he said.

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