Kejriwal has no portfolio, will keep an eye on others

Sisodia, with Finance & Education, has plate full.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2015 3:43:34 am

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has kept none of the government departments with himself while allocating portfolios to his cabinet ministers. He will, however, remain “directly connected” with the people of Delhi, playing the role of the “big brother” watching over all the departments under the Delhi government.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia will hold a number of key portfolios including Finance, Planning, Education and Urban Development.

Sisodia said on Saturday that Kejriwal will primarily be in charge of three things. “He will monitor the work done by all ministers in-charge of various departments. We will not be running the government as it is. He will see where there is a need for systemic changes in the government and bring them about. He will be directly connected with the people of Delhi. He will go to different places to understand the problems faced by people and also monitor the work done by all the MLAs.”

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The address at the Delhi secretariat, that was to be delivered by Kejriwal, was given by Sisodia on Saturday evening as Kejriwal was unwell.
Sisodia said that Kejriwal met his six ministers after the swearing-in ceremony held at noon and allocated portfolios.The meeting was held in the chief minister’s office at the Delhi secretariat where government employees greeted Kejriwal with a huge garland of roses. In his first innings as Delhi chief minister in 2013, Kejriwal had kept departments like power, finance, planning, home, services and vigilance with himself along with departments that are not specifically assigned to a minister.

Finance, planning and vigilance departments will now be held by Kejriwal’s deputy Sisodia, who will also be in-charge of education, urban development, land and buildings, revenue, information technology and all other departments that are not allocated to any minister.
Satyendra Jain, MLA from Shakur Basti and Sisodia are the only two AAP MLAs, who were ministers in the first AAP government that worked for 49 days in 2013-14.

Jain, an architect, who was the health minister then, has retained the portfolio along with power, industries, public works department, irrigation and flood control and gurdwaras.

Lawyer Sandeep Kumar, the 34-year-old MLA from Sultanpur Majra, has been allocated the women and child portfolio along with social welfare, languages and SC and ST welfare. Asim Ahemed Khan, the Muslim face in Kejriwal’s cabinet, will be minister for food and civil supplies, environment and forests and election.

Jitendra Singh Tomar, MLA from Tri Nagar, has been made the minister for home, law and justice, tourism, art and culture. Babarpur MLA Gopal Rai will hold the key portfolio of transport along with development, labour, general administration and employment.

Sisodia said, “For the next five years our focus area will be Delhi alone. We will work towards the implementation of our 70-point action plan. That will be our priority. We don’t have top 10 or top three issues, we have top 70.”

He added that they will work towards achieving a corruption-free Delhi and also making cheaper electricity and water available. He said that they will ensure that there is optimum usage of the government’s resources and infrastructure.

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