Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung put in his papers on Thursday, catching not only the state and central governments by surprise but even his own staff members.
Officials said they had no inkling about Mr Jung’s decision until they were asked to convey the decision to the media through an official statement.
A senior Home Ministry official said Mr. Jung would be required to continue in office till a successor is appointed. He took over as the L-G of Delhi from Tejendra Khanna in July 2013.
A Raj Niwas statement said Mr Jung “would be returning back to his first love, which is, academics.”
The L-G thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi “for all the help and cooperation he received during his tenure as the Lt. Governor of Delhi.” He also thanked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “for his association in the last two years.”
Mr Kejriwal called the resignation a surprise. “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia acknowledged the thorny relationship between Mr. Jung and the AAP Government but said “despite all the bitter-sweet experiences, I can say that together we managed to do good for Delhi.”
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who met Mr. Jung two days ago, said he gave no indication that he planned to quit. “His resignation is yet to reach us,” Mr. Mehrishi told reporters on Thursday evening.
BJP leader calls on Jung
A senior leader of the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who was part of a delegation that called on the L-G at Raj Niwas on Wednesday, concurred.
“The L-G met me but he did not give any indication of submitting his resignation. Another meeting of mine with the L-G is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday). I have came to know about his resignation only from the media.”
According to a source, Mr. Jung received a phone call from Mr Kejriwal soon after the announcement during which both agreed to meet briefly at Raj Niwas on Friday morning.