The shock announcement of his resignation by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has left both his political rivals and analysts stumped. With the central government on his side, nobody expected Jung to quit.
While explaining the reason for his resignation, Jung’s office said that it was on personal grounds and he wanted to return to academia.
Many suspected that Jung may have resigned after not getting favourable assurances from the Centre’s BJP government over his ‘wish’ to be appointed as the next Vice President of India, Congress Party alleged that he was forced to quit after he decided to make Shunglu Committee report public.
Delhi Congress chief, Ajay Maken, told reporters, “It seems the deal was struck between the BJP and AAP not to make public the Shunglu Committee report as it would have exposed irregularities in 200 files of Delhi government.”
jeeb Jung’s mid-term demission of the office of Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (LG) has left the theorists nonplussed, with most of them trying to wrap their heads around Jung’s parting shot – his desire to return to academics.
However, new reports emerging suggest that Jung may have resigned after he was reportedly assured of the VC post for Aligarh Muslim University.
Jung, before being appointed LG by the Congress government, served as the vice chancellor (VC) of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi from 2009-13. A 1973 batch IAS officer, Jung has also worked at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and Observer Research Foundation.
More chances are that he’d like to go back as VC of some university rather than joining a think-tank simply because of the enviable prestige the post of VC, particularly that of the AMU, holds. Also, sources at Jamia say that even after becoming LG Jung would regularly visit the university and liked to remain abreast with the university affairs, which clearly show where his heart lies.
Why he can’t return to Jamia
Jung, who turns 66 in January, still has time on his side for a good 4-year tenure at a university, as the age for superannuation of vice chancellors in central universities is 70. But there is a very strong reason why Jung can’t join as the vice chancellor of Jamia or any other central university for that matter.
The UGC rules state that a person being appointed as the VC should have a minimum of ten years of experience as a professor, which Jung apparently lacks.
The incumbent Jamia VC has more than two years to his term.
Another very crucial reason that kills his prospects at Jamia is the fact that during his tenure as the VC there, Jung had confrontations with several professors for his high handedness, which made him very unpopular at the university. After he left, 300 of the university professors signed a petition to the president requesting that the next VC of Jamia should be an academician. The option, therefore, for Jung of Jamia or any other university as future career virtually stands ruled out.
Here comes AMU in the picture
However, there is one university that fits the bill for Jung – Aligarh Muslim University. The term of present VC, Zameeruddin Shah ends on 16 May, 2017 and the university has still not adopted the UGC rules which require the VC to be a professor.
The appointment of Shah and the eligibility of Vice Chancellor is sub judice in the Supreme Court for being in violation of UGC rules. The AMU too had adopted the UGC Regulations 2010. Jung, with the government backing and the university’s history of having IAS officers as VCs could be a formidable contender for the post.
Najeeb also has historical reasons for joining AMU as his grandfather was one of the co-founders of the university. And the questions about post’s stature should be put to rest by the fact that Hamid Ansari and Zakir Hussain, who went on to become vice-president and president of the country respectively, have been the vice chancellors of AMU.
Najeeb also will be a pliant VC for the BJP government, as has been evident by his role as the capital’s LG and his bureaucratic tussles with the elected chief minister.
Further, the matter of minority character of AMU being heard by the Supreme Court and the central government opposing it, it would be a very strategic move to have a loyal person at the helm of affairs to handle both the ongoing judicial process and the fallout of the judgement.
Last, as his appointment will be easily disputable for being in violation of UGC rules, he won’t be able to flex muscles or be over-assertive and pose a possible threat to the ruling dispensation in any way, which will make him a tailor-made choice for the post.
Reactions from AMU
Many office-bearers of the AMU have reacted in shock and horror over the possibility of Jung possibly succeeding Lt General Shah, the current incumbent. However, not many are willing to go on record to voice their opinions as this could pose ‘problems’ for them in future should Jung indeed become the AMU VC.
Mustafa Zaidi, Honorary Secretary of the AMU Teachers Association, said that while under the current rules it will be impossible for Jung to become the AMU as it had adopted the UGC Regulations 2010 itself, but if the central government is determined, then ‘anything can happen.’
Speaking to Janta Ka Reporter, Zaidi said, “The university’s executive council is meeting on 28 January to shortlist five names that shall be pruned down to three by the University’s Court on 5 Feb 2017 to be sent to the President of India to select one of them to be VC. The name of Jawed Usmani, who is currently the Chief Information Commissioner in Uttar Pradesh government is almost certain to be included in the mix. The responsibility to shortlist three names and send them to President of India currently lies with the university. But, the central government can change these rules if they so wish.”
On whether Jung will be a good VC, Zaidi said, “What has he achieved in academic world? He left his Jamia VC’s job midway to become the Delhi LG. Then there are also questions surrounding his integrity. He quit his job in the petroleum ministry to join Reliance. There were also rumours that he allowed his home to be used as election office for Kapil Sibbal, who later rewarded him with the Jamia VC job.”
Jung’s departure may have provided a brief lull in Delhi politics, it seems he is now set to influence the politics of different kind in the event that he is appointed the AMU VC.