New Delhi: A day after he resigned, the central government looked for a successor to Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung who on Friday said he had offered to quit twice earlier but was told to carry on until Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally gave him the “go ahead” two days ago.
Jung spoke to news channels after meeting Modi and said there was no politics behind his sudden move, dismissing speculation that he was under pressure to exit.
“In 2014, when Modi was sworn in, I met him and requested him that since I was a Congress appointee, I would like to resign. The Prime Minister said no, please continue,” Jung told India Today TV.
He said he repeated his offer to resign in July this year when his turf war with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the administration of the national capital was at its peak. The matter was settled in August by the Delhi High Court that ruled the Lt Governor is the administrative head of the National Capital Territory. The matter is now in the Supreme Court.
“This July when I finished three years in office, I called the Prime Minister again (and) expressed my desire to leave,” Jung said. “The Prime Minister again asked me to continue.”
This time, he insisted on resigning — on personal grounds.
“Two days back, I spoke to the Prime Minister and expressed my desire yet again. This time the Prime Minister told me to go ahead. I resigned,” he said.
The government was yet to accept his resignation and find a replacement, a Home Ministry official told IANS.
Those being considered to replace Jung include former Home Secretaries Anil Baijal, G.K. Pillai and former Delhi Police chief B.S. Bassi, who too had a running fued with Kejriwal.
Earlier, Chief Minister Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia met Jung separately.
Kejriwal, the national convenor of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who was locked in a running battle with Jung for a long time, told reporters that the two met over an hour over breakfast.
Kejriwal had expressed his surprise on Thursday at Jung`s sudden move. On Friday, the AAP leader said Jung did not give him any particular reason for his resignation.
As Jung vetoed several decisions of the AAP government, Kejriwal dubbed him an “agent” of the Modi government who took orders from the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) and not the Home Ministry.
At one time, Kejriwal quoted Home Minister Rajnath Singh as telling him that Jung bypassed him and took direct orders from the PMO.
Sisodia, who met Jung after Kejriwal, said the outgoing LG had pondered over his decision for quit a while before finally calling it quits. “He (Jung) is not upset,” he added.
Sisodia said he had a “nice” meeting with Jung.
“He (Jung) said that he was thinking of quiting the post for the last one year to spend more time with his family and to focus on academics.”
Jung was appointed the Lt. Governor on July 9, 2013 when the Congress-led UPA was in power. The Modi government retained him even as it replaced most governors in other states.
The 65-year-old former bureaucrat and vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia quit on Thursday. He said he would return to academics, his first love.