A day after he sprang a surprise by stepping down as the Lt Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and later praised him as a “visionary” and an “exceptional” person who “wants to take the minorities along”.
Jung also indicated his unhappiness with the AAP government of Delhi, underlining that he had “distinct disagreements” with the latter.
The Lt Governor, sources close to him said, was “sad and fed up” with the “manner in which the AAP government was attacking him on daily basis and that was also one of the reasons behind his resignation”.
Jung met the Prime Minister at his South Block office for more than an hour but declined to divulge what was discussed at the meeting. But he later told The Indian Express that he is “completely convinced” of the Prime Minister’s “secular values as far as Hindu-Muslim relations are concerned”.
“I believe he wants to take the minorities along,” Jung said. He said that it was his third resignation offer but he had continued earlier because the Prime Minister had asked him to carry on. He said he will not re-consider his decision this time.
Rejecting suggestions of any political pressure from the Centre, Jung said he never received so much “cooperation and guidance” from anybody other than Modi in his 35-year tenure as an administrator. “I have not felt any pressure from the Centre… And I have had distinct disagreements with the Government of National Capital Territory (GNCTD).”
“No, there is no tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government. Delhi government wishes to interpret the Constitution in its own way and I have to uphold what is the correct version of the Constitution. The central government has never interfered or advised on Centre-GNCTD relations.”
“The Administrator is the representative of the Union Government and, therefore, the decision to interact with the GNCTD, which is the Council of Ministers, is left to the Administrator.”
In his brief resignation statement Thursday, Jung had also thanked Modi for his help and cooperation.
Taking it further Friday, he said: “It has been an honour for me to have worked with a visionary person like the Prime Minister. The cooperation and advice that I have received from him is immense and I wish to thank him.”
On his earlier resignation offers, Jung said that two days after the Modi government was sworn-in, he had offered to resign but was asked to continue.
“The swearing-in of Modi government was on May 26 (2014). I went to the Prime Minister on May 28 and said that a new government has come in. I told him that I was appointed by the earlier government and if you wish, I will resign. And he said there is no need, and I carried on.”
“At the end of three years in August this year, I again said that I have completed three years and though there is no tenure for Lt Governor, three years is a good period. So if you may wish, I move on. He (Modi) said no, no you should continue. And now in December, I said it’s three and half years, Sahab. I have another dimension to life. So I want to leave and that is when he agreed. This is the entire thing,” Jung said.
Asked whether he will reconsider his decision, he said, “No. I need a break. I have to get my moorings back.”
He declined to divulge what was discussed in his meeting with Modi. “My meeting with the Prime Minister is private conversation, which will not go beyond me. The conversation between the Prime Minister and the L-G are a completely sacred conversation, which should not go out.”
“At the same time, I want to reiterate that he (Modi) is an exceptional man. It has been an honour to work with such an exception person. I received unstinted, undiluted support from him whenever I sought it. I have been in the system for 35 years and never received such support.”
Jung has had a running feud with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP government. But on Friday, Kejriwal had an hour-long breakfast meeting with Jung, reminiscing their nearly two-year association in governing the city besides discussing other issues. Kejriwal said the Lt Governor had invited him to a breakfast meeting.