Delhi’s lieutenant governor, Najeeb Jung, resigned from his position with about 18 months left in his tenure. This move took nearly everyone by surprise. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi had received no indication of this impending move at a meeting two days prior to the announcement and Jung’s own staff have said that they had no idea that such a move was in the offing.
Jung has, over his tenure, had multiple disagreements with Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and particularly with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The latter has long been unhappy with Jung, an appointee of the ex-United Progressive Alliance government who nevertheless had the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) support and even recently called out Jung’s policies as authoritarian.
However, Jung has stated that has resignation is entirely due to personal reasons and does not have political undertones, citing that he had attempted to resign twice in the past and that he was keen on returning to academia. The 65-year-old Jung thanked the people of Delhi as well as the AAP government for their support over the last years of his tenure and also stated that he was looking forward to writing a book and spending time with his family.
The central government has suggested that bureaucrat Anil Baijal replace Jung as lieutenant governor. Baijal has had 37 years of bureaucratic experience and was an officer in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). He has also been closely associated with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and has been a Home Secretary in the past, thus leaving him with a strong repertoire of experience.
While Jung’s move to resign may be sudden and possibly unexpected, the transition is likely to be smoother than expected. However, it remains to be seen whether the new lieutenant governor will have a smoother relationship with the AAP or if deadlocks between the party and the BJP will only escalate.