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Baijal to take oath as LG on Sat; AAP hopes for better ties

Baijal to take oath as LG on Sat; AAP hopes for better ties
Former Home Secretary Anil Baijal will take over as new LG of Delhi on Saturday in the backdrop of escalating confrontation between the AAP government and the Centre on a range of contentious issue including control over the bureaucracy.

70-year-old Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, will be administrated oath of office and secrecy as 20th Lieutenant Governor of Delhi by Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini at Raj Niwas in Civil Lanes area of North Delhi.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Cabinet colleagues, senior bureaucrats of the Delhi Government and a host of invitees are expected to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Baijal, who had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government besides holding key positions in several other ministries, will have to find a way out to work with the AAP government which had an acrimonious relation with Najeeb Jung who quit as LG last week in a surprise move.

Baijal will have to appoint a new chairman of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) which has been “headless” since November after the appointment of incumbent Krishna Saini was turned down by Jung.

Baijal, who had retired from service in 2006 as Urban Development Secretary, served as vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority and is known to be well versed with the city administration.

Baijal was actively associated with the designing and country-wide roll-out of Rs 60,000-crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) launched by the Manmohan Singh government.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday accepted Delhi’s LG Najeeb Jung’s resignation and appointed Anil Baijal as his successor. Welcoming the new appointment, Delhi Tourism and Culture Minister Kapil Mishra said he was hopeful of cooperation from the new LG. “I welcome his (Baijal’s) appointment. I am hopeful that the new LG will clear several development projects of the government which have been stopped. Hopefully, the blockade will end now,” Mishra said. 

An official statement earlier announced: “The President has been pleased to appoint Anil Baijal to be the Lt. Governor of National Capital Territory of Delhi with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.” 

“The President has accepted Jung’s resignation as Lt. Governor of Delhi,” the statement read. Welcoming Baijal’s appointment, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said that he hoped Baijal would be “impartial in his dealings” and will release the Shunglu Committee report that reportedly slams the Kejriwal government for its irregularities.

“We expect Anil Baijal to release Shunglu Committee report on corruption of AAP government soon after taking over!” Maken tweeted.

The Shunglu Committee investigated the alleged irregularities committed by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Delhi.

Jung set up a three-member committee to study alleged irregularities of the AAP government following an August 4 Delhi High Court ruling that accorded primacy to the LG in Delhi’s administration.

The committee, headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu, submitted its report to the LG on November 27.

“We hope that being a senior bureaucrat, Baijal will follow the constitutional guidelines. Fight between former LG Najeeb Jung and the AAP government was not personal,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary Sardar R P Singh said. 

“He only followed constitutional steps which were opposed by the Delhi government,” Singh said.

A 1969 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, Baijal was on the executive council of the think tank Vivekananda International Foundation. He retired in 2006 as the Union Urban Development Secretary. In his long career of 37 years, he held several eminent positions including that of Union Home Secretary, Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Airlines, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 
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