After being at loggerheads with Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung since the Aam Aadmi Party’s first tenure in 2013, party leaders toned down their attack soon after he resigned. Minutes after the announcement, senior party functionaries, spread across the country on pre-poll campaigns and tours, made frantic calls to each other to make sense of the sudden move.
With speculation rife over Jung’s probable successor, AAP leaders waited impatiently for the Centre to name the next L-G.
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Even as the Congress alleged that Jung’s resignation was a “deal” between BJP and AAP, cabinet minister Kapil Mishra maintained, “For AAP, it is no loss, no gain. Jung was opposed to us, just like the next L-G will be. They (the L-Gs) will do what the Centre wants them to do. Instead, the Congress should worry because Jung, being a Congress appointee, was at least sympathetic to them and did nothing to unsettle them.”
Most AAP leaders, who were regularly in touch with Jung for work, said he is an “erudite” and “gentle” human being who acted “under pressure from the Centre”.
Malviya Nagar MLA and DDA member Somnath Bharti, who until recently made acerbic attacks on Jung for not scheduling a meeting with him to discuss DDA-related issues, told The Indian Express, “I last met him on November 3 and, in retrospect, I think he possibly indicated this. He was usually philosophical when he spoke to me and he had said something like, ‘Kuch dino ka mehmaan hoon’. I had a good rapport with him and it was not he who obstructed work but the PM who was misusing him…”
“Last year, I fell sick and had to be hospitalised. Jung rushed to the hospital to see me within 20 minutes. While that was my best experience with him, our last meeting could be called the worst. I confronted him at a gathering of over 80 officials when BJP MLA Vijender Gupta pulled out his mobile phone in the meeting. AAP MLAs are always frisked at Raj Niwas gate and our mobile phones have to be submitted with the security guard, but no such restrictions were imposed on Gupta. This really irked me and when I raised it with Jung, he justified it by saying Gupta is the Leader of Opposition and hence his phone was allowed,” Bharti claimed.
AAP MLA and New Delhi Municipal Council member, Commando Surinder Singh, who met Jung often for work, said, “I last met him in late October to discuss the extension of tenure for some ex-servicemen employed by DTC. Though the work was eventually not done, we had a cordial meeting. Jung was stuck between the Delhi government and Modiji. As a person, he is well- read, good-natured. In the last meeting, he did look like he was under immense pressure.”
AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, “There might have been ups and downs in our working relationship with the L-G, but there is no personal animosity. Individuals don’t matter. We wish him all the luck.”