New Delhi: While most of the national capital was still recovering from the thick blanket of fog this morning, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna landed at the Indira Gandhi International airport in the early hours today. After that blink-and-miss appearance, he only surfaced close to 4:30pm to address a press conference after a day of hectic back-to-back meetings.
After a week's absence, it was the capital's first glimpse of its constitutional head and it came with a moment's silence, as he urged the media present at his press meet to pray for the feisty survivor who is still battling for her life in a hospital.
His statement started with an expected defense: "I took the President's permission to go see my daughter. No one ordered me to come back. I came back seeing the situation", he said.
His justification came after Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's interview to NDTV's Barkha Dutt earlier in the day where he said, "I did inquire about where Delhi's Lieutenant Governor is, asked him to come back."
The Lieutenant Governor, through whom the Delhi Police reports to the Home ministry, was away in the US for all of last week while anger spilled over to the streets of Delhi.
Both protestors and opportunists openly challenged the authority of its law enforcers and politicians as demands for action against the police top brass grew louder.
Even Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who has lamented the absence of control over the police machinery that reports directly to the Centre, joined the chorus. Just a few days ago, as the anger against the system was peaking, Ms Dikshit had said that it was important that heads rolled in the police force, starting with the police commissioner. "I don't have the power to transfer even a single policeman", she said.
With the Chief Minister washing her hands off the blame, Delhi's top cop Neeraj Kumar has been spared the rap for now. Even the Lieutenant Governor is brushing off demands for his removal. He said, "Isko hatao usko hatao. Will that take the incident back? We have to move forward." When asked if he should step down he replied, "I don't think so. In my view what's more important is to take corrective action. It's for political masters to decide."
It seems that with a few suspensions and even fewer explanations, Delhi's political masters are yet to decide who is in charge of the national capital, content more with passing the buck than fixing accountability, as the 23-year-old survivor battles on with a remarkable spirit and will to fight against all odds.