In a move, which could further aggravate their ongoing power struggle, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung rejected Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's appointment of Swati Maliwal, a Right to Information activist, as the next Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) chief.
Jung informed the Delhi government that Maliwal's appointment is "null and void."
Maliwal, a software engineer, has told the media that she has not received any official communication from Jung, and the activist is continuing her work as the DCW chief.
The 30-year-old was part of the core team at Kejriwal's NGO Parivartan, and she was recently appointed as his advisor on grievances.
Opposition leaders today accused the Kejriwal of deliberately not seeking Jung's approval on the DCW appointment in a bid to garner sympathy, and fuel his showdown with the Lt. Governor, who represents the centre in Delhi.
"He wants to be a bechara," Congress Party leader Ajay Maken told ANI.
Kejriwal's bigger battle is for Delhi to attain full statehood so that its ruling party has control over the police, and is solely responsible for making appointments.
Maliwal's appointment by the Delhi government has sparked controversy, with the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress Party leaders highlighting her proximity to the Aam Aadmi Party. They pointed out that she is married to Naveen Jaihind, an AAP leader from Haryana.
Observers have also questioned whether Maliwal can be neutral while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment and domestic violence which have been filed with the DCW against senior AAP leaders.
On Twitter, Kejriwal quashed rumours that he and Maliwal are also relatives.
Some media houses n opp leaders alleging that swati is my cousin. Complete nonsense. She is not even remotely connected(1/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 15, 2015
BTW Breaking News for some channels- वो मेरे चाचा की साली के जीजा की भतीजी के ससुर की भांजी के भतीजे की साली के भाई की बेटी है(2/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 15, 2015