Former Union home secretary Anil Baijal was on Wednesday appointed the new lieutenant governor of Delhi in place of Najeeb Jung who resigned recently.
President Pranab Mukherjee, who is on a 10-day southern sojourn, gave his assent to the Centre’s recommendation for acceptance of outgoing Jung’s resignation and naming Baijal as his successor.Baijal, a 1969 batch IAS officer, was home secretary in 2004 when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was in office. His tenure was cut short by the UPA government, which, soon after taking over in May 2004, shunted him out.
After retirement, Anil Baijal served on the executive council of the think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation, which has been a feeder for candidates to man senior positions in the Modi government, the most prominent being national security adviser Ajit Doval.
Baijal’s appointment comes against the backdrop of a contentious working relationship between his predecessor Jung and the Arvind Kejriwal government. The two have clashed over the extent of the elected government’s powers under Delhi’s constitutional scheme. Jung’s tenure saw him embroiled in many run-ins with the Kejriwal government, when the latter constantly challenged the former’s supremacy in running affairs of the Government of NCT of Delhi. The LG won the battle in the high court; the case is now before the Supreme Court.Though Jung was a UPA appointee, the NDA government let him continue in the ‘prized’ post for two-and-a-half years. Even though Jung offered to resign on two earlier occasions, PM Modi asked him to stay on. On December 22, however, Jung announced his resignation, saying he was going back to academics.
Anil Baijal, 70, whose appointment papers were sent to the President earlier on Wednesday, for approval, is known to be a reserved man. Sources said Baijal prefers to go by the rule book and he may be equally assertive in going by the norms.
He retired from government service in 2006 as secretary, urban development ministry. He had also served as vice-chairman of DDA earlier in his career.. Baijal was actively associated with the designing and roll-out of the Rs 60,000crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission launched by the Manmohan Singhgovernment.For Baijal, the foremost challenge will be to find a way to work with a recalcitrant Arvind Kejriwal government.