22/05/2015 1:17 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Central Government Backs LG In Tiff With Kejriwal, Clarifies He Has Primacy On All Transfers And Postings

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, right, speaks to his deputy Manish Sisodia at a farmer’s rally near the Indian parliament in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Indian farmers and the opposition parties are protesting against a government plan to ease rules for obtaining land for industry and development projects. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

NEW DELHI -- The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday said that the Lieutenant Governor in Delhi had the power to appoint bureaucrats in the state machinery, in effect favouring the L-G over the chief minister on the issue of appointing Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary despite the state government's reservations against the IAS officer.

The MHA issued a notification clarifying that the LG has "primacy" in all the postings and transfer of officers who belong to Central services.

The CM and LG had locked horns last week after the latter appointed Gamlin as acting chief secretary instead of the candidate proposed by the CM. Matters came to a head when both state leaders met with President Pranab Mukherjee over the issue.

In its notification on Friday, the MHA said that the LG "shall in respect of matters connected with ‘Public Order’, ‘Police’, ‘Land’ & 'Services’ exercise the powers & discharge functions of the Central Govt to the extent delegated to him from time to time by the President." The LG may exercise his own judgment in deciding when he wanted to "obtain views" of CM Arvind Kejriwal under appointment of bureaucrats for 'Services', the MHA clarified.

Prime Minister Modi had intervened in the ongoing power tussle after Kejriwal wrote to the PM, alleging that the LG was acting on the Centre's behest and intervening inappropriately in the workings of the state government. According to reports, Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh met at least twice to discuss the issue on Thursday evening, before the MHA notification was issued Friday morning.

A disappointed Kejriwal spoke out against the BJP government at the Centre, claiming the notification signified BJP's "nervousness" with AAP's anti-corruption efforts.

Meanwhile deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has reacted strongly to the notification, tweeting that a group of "corrupt officials" had got together with the MHA to publish a notification in favour of the LG. Before the notification was issued, Sisodia said that if it was in favour of the LG, it would become clear that "Modi and Singh had bent their knee in front of the transfer-posting industry." He further claimed that this "industry" was "afraid of the Delhi government's clean functioning."

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