Najeeb Jung, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor, in a surprise move, submitted his resignation. Photo courtesy of PTI
Najeeb Jung, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor, in a surprise move, submitted his resignation. Photo courtesy of PTI

NEW DELHI (TIP): New Delhi could not have a more surprising news than the one that Najeeb Jung resigned as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, with 18 months left in his tenure, saying he wants to return to his “first love, academics”.

Jung’s three years in office were dogged by his constant power tussle with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.”Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me, my best wishes in all his future endeavors.(sic)” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.

Jung’s adviser Ajai Chaudhari said he was shocked too. “He resigned since he had personal reasons. He said he has worked for 45 years, now he wants to spend time with family and his grandchildren,” Chaudhari told mediapersons.

Sources close to Jung claimed it was not a sudden decision and he had been thinking of quitting for some months.

An undated letter of Jung, however, has surfaced in which he has written to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi that he would be on a private visit to Goa from December 25 to January 1. The letter, news agency Press Trust of India reported, also said the Delhi Chief Secretary will keep in touch with Jung “about important developments” and when needed, seek Mehrishi’s advice.

A statement from Jung’s office said he thanked “the people of Delhi for all their support and affection, especially during the one year’s President Rule in Delhi, when he got unstinted support from them and which in turn helped run the administration in Delhi smoothly and effortlessly. ”

He also thanked Kejriwal, who accused him of acting as the Centre’s agent.

Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia said in a statement.

AAP leader Kumar Vishwas commented that Jung probably “was controlled elsewhere” and that he had no choice in the way he navigated a hostile relationship with the elected government in Delhi.

Jung is a former bureaucrat and Vice Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia University.

AAP alleges that as the center’s representative in Delhi, Jung used his veto to strike down several Delhi government decisions in recent months.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had observed that “an elected government should have some power to run, otherwise the government cannot function.”

The center and Jung said because Delhi is not a state, the Lieutenant Governor has special powers, an argument accepted by the Delhi High Court which, in August, ruled against Kejriwal. The court said that Jung is the administrative head of the capital and has to sign off on government decisions. Kejriwal challenged that verdict in the Supreme Court, which will hear his appeal in January.

Meanwhile, aspirants for the job have begun lobbying for the position. A former Police Commissioner of Delhi is also being mentioned as a candidate.