Whispers in the corridors: It's Jung's turn next to face axe

The appointment of a new Chief Secretary has sparked speculations that Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung could be the next to go in a series of changes lined up in the city administration in the coming weeks.

A few BJP leaders, closely working with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, said a new occupant of the Raj Niwas “could be” in store.

Jung, 63, a former bureaucrat and vice-chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia, took up the gubernatorial job in 2013 while Sheila Dikshit was the Chief Minister and her party was in power at the Centre.

The former bureaucrats and BJP stalwarts whose names are doing rounds in political circles as possible successors to Jung include former Delhi Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma, former Delhi chief secretary Omesh Saigal, former Delhi power secretary Shakti Sinha and BJP’s veteran leader from the city V K Malhotra.

“An official with service in Delhi bureaucracy or dealing with urban governance could be the preferred choice as a Lieutenant Governer,” said a BJP leader.

D M Spolia, a 1979 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, who was removed as Delhi Chief Secretary by the Aam Aadmi Party government led by Arvind Kejriwal in January, was on Wednesday reappointed to the post, replacing S K Srivastava. 

Sources in Delhi BJP said over the past few days party leaders led by city unit chief Satish Upadhyay have been meeting Rajnath Singh to complain about insensitive administration in the city under Jung.

“Specific cases have been cited before the Home Ministry giving examples of the cold response of the officials towards public issues raised by BJP MLAs,” said a leader.Jung has been heading the administration and coordinating with the Home Ministry in city matters since the President’s rule was imposed in February. 

As a constitutional head he also played a crucial role in inviting political parties for forming government in the hung Delhi Assembly.

A BJP legislator, who dismissed the speculation over Jung’s possible exit, said: “Removing Jung could send a wrong signal to the minority community. Jung is, after all, a prominent member of Delhi’s Muslim community.”

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