A day after the Centre approved former IAS officer Anil Baijal’s appointment as the new Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, government work at the Raj Niwas took a backseat, while the staff was busy preparing for Najeeb Jung’s farewell and welcome ceremony for the new L-G.
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The perimeter walls got a fresh coat of paint, and the brass plaques on the gates displaying the National Emblem were polished till they shone. The front lawn of the residence is being prepared for the functions, to be held over the next two days, with tents being set up, carpets and garlands of marigold and roses brought in to decorate the house. Carts full of flower pots and plants left Raj Niwas to return to the nearby government run nursery on Thursday, as the new occupant wants “different” plants growing in his house. “The L-G sahab is retiring, so when the new L-G comes the plants he chooses will be kept here. Unki marzi chalegi na (It will have to be according to his wish),” say the labourers working hard to spruce up the house and gardens.
An emotional farewell was organised in the afternoon where the Lieutenant-Governor’s secretariat staff said goodbye to Jung. “Bohot kam officials hote hain jinke jaate waqt log pair choote hain (there are very few officials who get respect by people touching their feet when they are retiring),” said a senior Raj Niwas employee. Toting boxes of sweets, staff leaving from the farewell ceremony said they were “touched” by the speech given by Jung, who reportedly said that everyone was “equal” and compared people to “travellers in the same train compartment” who “may be in different berths but ultimately have to travel together.” Since official work was on hold on Thursday, security arrangements seemed to be scaled down, with fewer police personnel and armed guards than usual.
A few visitors came to meet Jung on his “last day”. North MCD commissioner PK Gupta and Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Pravir Ranjan were among the visitors who met Jung. NDMC Vice-Chairman Karan Singh Tanwar came to bid farewell, as a “courtesy call”. However, Jung was not in office at the time.
On December 22, Jung had resigned amid a protracted bitter confrontation with the AAP government. However, he had cited personal reasons behind his resignation. 65-year-old Jung, a former IAS officer, had assumed charge of Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi on July 9, 2013.