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Millennium Post

Is Najeeb Jung fit for current post?

There are reasons to cast serious doubts on the credentials of the Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung. His journey from being a Reliance man to enjoying the cushiony comforts of Raisina Hills has been one not without its sordid details. Whether it was about his pivotal role in privatising the public sector ONGC’s Panna-Mukta oilfield and giving it away to Reliance, shortly before his joining the private sector giant, or his lobbying for the company and looking after its public relations with the government, smoothening the rough edges and ensuring hefty deals benefitting a select few in the highest echelons of the political and corporate sphere – Jung’s past cannot be airbrushed from political memory very soon. This 1973-batch IAS officer, whose hobnobs with lobbyists such as the 2G scam centre-piece Niira Radia, or his stint as the joint secretary of exploration, petroleum ministry, and even in his current capacity as the L-G of Delhi, Jung has been instrumental in easing out the backchannel deals, and has been, as is been widely conjectured, a UPA government’s stooge in the Capital, ensuring the breaches of law and losses in public exchequer happen without much of a whimper.

Despite Jung’s erudition, scholarship and perfect qualification, including a Muslim surname, what can’t be forgiven is the possibility of the lieutenant governor of Delhi being a man not for the people but for the rich. Given his strong objection to the AAP government’s proposal to table Jan Lokpal Bill in the state assembly, his falling back on norms irrespective of their constitutionality now coming under the scanner and his leaking the solicitor general’s private correspondence on the legality of the draft bill into the public domain – all attest to where his affiliations lie, which is clearly with the entrenched corporate-political nexus that thrives and prospers by stealing from the aam aadmi. Moreover, after Arvind Kejriwal’s lodging of criminal cases against the Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani over major discrepancies in the Krishna Godavari Basin gas pricing issue, even Jung’s previous role as the bridge between the corporate giant and the government appendages, including the legislature and the bureaucracy, must now be questioned immediately. As the Delhi CM has clearly spelt out, Jung has been an out and out Reliance man and has risen through the ranks by currying mutual favours from the energy giant and the union cabinet. It’s time to therefore look at not just Reliance’s ledgers and the role of UPA government in fattening their wallets, it’s equally significant to inquire into Jung’s contribution, even if marginal, to the whole theatre of theft and crony capitalism that has been jointly orchestrated by the two camps.
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