After months of confrontations between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his office, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, in his first press conference since the AAP government took over in February 2015, said, “I have no animosity towards Arvind Kejriwal. He may have animosity.”
On a day that the Delhi High Court ruled that the Lt Governor would have the final word on decisions pertaining to Delhi’s administration, a beaming Jung answered questions by journalists, sometimes interspersing his responses with poetry. “This is such an important judgment. It can even be called historic,” he said.
Holding up the oath administered to the Lt Governor of Delhi, Jung said he had sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”. “I have no option to go against even a comma of the Indian Constitution. In my understanding of the last one year, in which we have had several run-ins with the government, we, in the office, my colleagues who were around me, have stayed with the Constitution in its spirit…”
Refusing to term it a “victory” in the turf war, Jung said, “This is nobody’s victory. Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung don’t exist. It is not that we will give sweets to each other today. These are things that the HC clarified today.”
He said his office never initiated any of the ‘disputes’ between the offices of the Lt Governor and the Chief Minister. “We, in this office, have no dispute with anyone. We have dedicated ourselves to working for the people of Delhi. The things we find irregular, incorrect, we will correct them. I am not talking about negating. We don’t want to undo anything. Keeping that in mind, we want to help the government.”
Holding up the Constitution of India, he said, “I am a delegate of the President of India. Why should I be ashamed of that… I am bound by this. I am its custodian.”
Jung said the allegations that his office had tried to stall the measures initiated by the AAP government were not true.
“We correct only what we think is violative of the Constitution. Take for example the case of the Commission of Inquiry or the notification for the revision of circle rates. All we said was that you correct this and send it back to us, we will notify it. But look at the ramifications of not correcting them,” he said.
Jung said what had played out as a “turf war” was not a battle for supremacy. “Nobody is the ruler of Delhi. I am not a ruler, you are not a ruler. We are bound by our jobs under the Constitutional framework.”
On Kejriwal’s repeated attacks on him, Jung said, “There is something in my DNA. These things don’t affect me.”