Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member and social activist Swati Maliwal is set to be appointed the next chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). The 30-year-old will succeed former Congress MLA Barkha Singh Shukla, who completes her tenure on July 17.
Working as adviser to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal since the AAP government took charge in February, Maliwal has been handling the CM’s grievance redressal cell and the Janata Samvad.
Sources said that Maliwal had had a meeting with the chief minister to discuss issues pertaining to women and her formal appointment to preside over the commission is likely to be made by Friday. The BJP and the Congress pulled daggers on the AAP, accusing Kejriwal of appointing “his relative” to take charge of the commission.
Refuting the claims made by his political rivals, Kejriwal tweeted, “Some media houses and opp leaders alleging that Swati is my cousin. Complete nonsense. She is not even remotely connected.”
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Mocking claims of Maliwal being his relative, Kejriwal again tweeted, “BTW breaking news for some channels — Wo mere chacha ki saali ke jija ki bhatiji ke sasur ki bhanji ke bhatije ki saali ke bhai ki beti hai.”
Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said, “Mr Clean had all along said that he opposes family connections in politics and, in case of DCW, he had said members of political parties should not be appointed as DCW chairperson. If one has to believe reports of likely appointment of Swati Maliwal at DCW, it seems Mr Clean has taken inspiration from his Congress mentors’ book and adopted family politics concept. Swati happens to be the wife of Naveen Jaihind, a close associate of Kerjiwal. It has been a matter of discussion in political circles that they have family connections too.”
“Initially, they had accused Barkha Singh of taking a pro-Congress stance, since she was a former Congress MLA. They had alleged that the inquiry against AAP leader Somnath Bharti was politically motivated and Kejriwal had said that he would appoint Maitree Pushpa as the chairperson of DCW. But now, they have said they will appoint Swati Maliwal, who is an adviser to the chief minister and draws a salary of over a lakh,” Congress spokesperson Sharmishtha Mukherjee said.
She added that this was yet another instance of the “Kejriwal government putting selected AAP volunteers to high offices on high salaries with all the perks and facilities of a minister” and thus “discarding the cloak of the common man’s party”. “Only IAS officers with over 20 years of experience get salaries of over a lakh. But the AAP government is giving handsome salaries to chosen AAP volunteers by appointing them to fancy posts,” Mukherjee said.
Maliwal was the youngest member of the core committee of the India Against Corruption movement started by Anna Hazare. In 2014, Maliwal led a team of volunteers, working with 27 first-time AAP MLAs, to help them understand the functioning of the government. She has also worked with Greenpeace to promote safe food for women and children.
Maliwal’s husband Jaihind is an AAP leader from Haryana. They got married in 2013. Born in Ghaziabad, Maliwal graduated from the JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida in 2006, after pursuing a course in Engineering in Information Technology.