06/09/2016 8:25 AM IST | Updated 23/01/2017 11:04 PM IST

The BJP Is Making A Big Mistake In Letting Jung Run Delhi, But Kejriwal Is Not Complaining

Najeeb Jung’s over-enthusiasm about running Delhi is a blessing in disguise for AAP.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi Vidhan Sabha Speaker Ram Niwas Goyal welcome the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung as they arrive to attend the 3rd Session of 6th Legislative Assembly and addressing MLAs at National Capital, on March 22, 2016 in New Delhi.

After a Delhi High Court judgement stating that the Lt Governor is the real boss in Delhi, there's a crisis of governance in the capital. Threatening review of decisions, returning files, transferring bureaucrats en masse, LG Najeeb Jung assumes a greater role in Delhi's day to day affairs with every passing day.

Policy paralysis

The rights and wrongs of his actions, the limits of his powers, are soon going to at by looked at by the Supreme Court. But there is no doubt the clear objective of this exercise is to paralyse the Delhi government's policy making as well as discredit the AAP leadership. So Najeeb Jung wants to look at the consultants hired by the AAP, stalls its attempt to increase minimum wages, looks for corruption in the Delhi Wakf Board.

For the smallest of things, such as banning dangerous Chinese manjha, Manish Sisodia and Najeeb Jung issue press statements against each other.

The Supreme Court will take its time, and might even rule in the LG's favour. But at least till the Punjab elections are over in March, Delhi is looking at a policy paralysis, a freeze on governance.

It's become so bad that even Kejriwal's estranged friend and critic Yogendra Yadav is calling the LG an "instrument" of the BJP. Jung has gone to the extent of saying he would even consider dissolving the Delhi assembly. "I would think about it. I am not a robot that I don't think," he said.

The Supreme Court will take its time, and might even rule in the LG's favour. But at least till the Punjab elections are over in March, Delhi is looking at a policy paralysis, a freeze on governance.

'Dilli dur ast'

In such a moment, you'd expect Arvind Kejriwal to be sitting on dharna or resigning and calling for fresh elections in Delhi. That is what he did when he wasn't getting his way with the central government when he first became chief minister in December 2013. Instead, Kejriwal is found travelling to Vatican for Mother Teresa's anointment!

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal felicitating and honoring the Gallery awardees & distinguished service medal winners at Raj Niwas, Civil Lines, on December 7, 2015 in New Delhi, India.

It's not as if he'll get back to governing Delhi after his return. He will travel to Punjab for four days on 8 September, and then go to Bangalore for 10 days for a throat surgery to address his chronic cough problem. Last month, he spent 10 days doing a Vippasana meditation course in Dharamsala.

He has already announced that he will be taking direct charge of the party's Punjab unit. His people are looking to rent him a house in Chandigarh. He is already learning Punjabi. It is becoming clearer by the day that Kejriwal is the most likely CM candidate of the AAP in Punjab.

But what about Delhi? The LG is not letting him govern, Kejriwal says, but strangely he is not found making any noises about it. Gone are the days when such grave matters would make the Aam Aadmi Party take to the streets, shake up the news, occupy Ramlila Maidan, and storm the President's estate.

Truth is, the Aam Aadmi Party is very happy letting Jung take over Delhi these days. On issues of governance of Delhi, Kejriwal tells us to go talk to the LG. As for himself, he is travelling to Rome and Amritsar, Bangalore and Dharamsala, fixing his health and mind, and helping his party flex national muscle.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung during a tree plantation campaign Pledge for the Planet was organised by Delhi Development Authority (DDA), on June 7, 2016 in New Delhi, India.

Blessing in disguise?

That's right, Jung's actions have come as a blessing in disguise for the AAP. Governance and policy making is coming to a standstill as far as the AAP ministers are concerned. Kejriwal and his party are going slow in taking on the LG, preferring to let the matter play out in courts than on the streets.

The AAP wants to let it sink in that the LG runs Delhi. This way, nobody can accuse AAP of 'dramaybaazi'. After Kejriwal's rather incredible statement that prime minister Narendra Modi could get him killed, it seemed the BJP was right: Kejriwal just wants to blame Modi instead of actually governing Delhi. But Jung's actions are helping change that image. Now, everyone can see that the LG who reports to the Modi government, is openly taking over governance in Delhi.

While the LG runs Delhi, Kejriwal and his party are diverting their energies on Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Kejriwal has already made Sisodia the face of governance in Delhi, preparing us for his own transfer from Delhi to Chandigarh. The trip to Vatican was with the obvious purpose of impressing the 28% Catholic vote in Goa.

That is why the delegation included other leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, including Kumar Vishwas. As if on cue, the LG has asked for the foreign travel details of all AAP ministers in the last one and a half years.

The AAP is achieving more by not going to town against the LG. It is letting the BJP commit a big political mistake. The political axis of Delhi now clearly seems to be Modi (via LG) versus AAP. This is marginalizing the Delhi unit of the BJP. In fact, the Ajay Maken-led Congress in Delhi, which has zero seats in the assembly, appears to be more of an opposition than the 3-member BJP.

If the BJP leadership's calculations in Delhi backfire, will Jung be the fall guy? Our guess is as good as Swamy's Twitter feed.

Kejriwal is the CM of half a state. In stifling his powers in Delhi through the LG, the Modi government is only helping Kejriwal's agenda of making him a national leader. Instead of reducing his stature by propping up the Delhi unit of the BJP against him, the Modi government is very happy to let Kejriwal versus Modi become a national tussle, beyond the streets of Delhi and into the villages of distant states.

Perhaps the government is miscalculating the results of such an approach. Or perhaps not: after all, the AAP is the best bet in ensuring the BJP's state aim of a Congress-mukt Bharat.


The maverick Subramaiam Swamy is seen as somewhat of an oracle after his attack on RBI governor Raghuram Rajan was followed by Rajan's exit. It is interesting that Swamy recently attacked Jung, calling him "another 420 like Kejri". If the BJP leadership's calculations in Delhi backfire, will Jung be the fall guy? Our guess is as good as Swamy's Twitter feed.

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