On Friday, a day before the oath taking ceremony of Delhi’s new government, sources in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said that former ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain were likely to retain their departments – Union Development, Education and Health and Industries respectively.
The party’s second-in-command Manish Sisodia, MLA from Patparganj who is going to be Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister, will take charge of key portfolios – the Public Works Department (PWD), Education and Union Development – departments that he had headed during the 49 days of governance in 2014.
Similarly, Satyendra Jain – AAP MLA from Shakur Basti, is likely to be in charge of the departments of Health and Industries.
Meanwhile, the AAP chief and party’s CM designate, Arvind Kejriwal is likely to head the departments of finance and power.
Among the new faces in the Delhi cabinet, senior AAP leader and Babarpur MLA Gopal Rai is expected to head the Transport and Labour departments. In the last AAP Delhi government, while Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj was the Transport Minister, Girish Soni, AAP MLA from Madipur, was the Labour Minister.
Another new entrant in the Delhi cabinet, Asim Mohammad Khan from Matia Mahal constituency is likely to take charge of the Department of Food and Supplies – another department which had earlier been headed by Bhardwaj. AAP MLA Sandeep Kumar from Sultanpur Majra, is expected to head the department of women and child welfare, SC/ST – a position occupied by party MLA from Mangolpuri Rakhi Birla and Girish Soni respectively.
AAP MLA from Tri Nagar, Jitendra Singh Tomar, an advocate is likely to be Delhi’s new Law Minister. The position during AAP’s 49-days of governance was held by AAP MLA from Malviya Nagar Somnath Bharti.
Incidentally, the party has dropped two key ministers – Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birla – who had created a controversy during AAP’s 49-days of governance.
In January 2014, following a midnight raid in Khirki Extension to unearth an alleged drug and prostitution operating in the area, Bharti had come under attack from women’s rights organisation.
Earlier on Friday, Bharti had maintained that he had opted out of the cabinet “willingly” since he wanted focus on issues relating to his constituency. “Let me put all speculations at rest. I hv willingly opted not to take any responsibility in the govt n nt because I possess any demerit,” he Tweeted. In another Tweet, Bharti added, “I want to focus on building my constituency as a model one n utilize all my time n energy for the same.”
I want to focus on building my constituency as a model one n utilize all my time n energy for the same.
— Adv. Somnath Bharti (@attorneybharti) February 13, 2015
Confirming that he had been kept out of the Delhi Cabinet by the AAP, Greater Kailash MLA and former Transport Minister Saurav Bhardwaj said, “It is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. This time, six names had to be decided for the cabinet out of 67 MLAs. The task is more difficult from last time when there were just 28 MLAs. The party had told me a few days ago that my name might not feature on the Cabinet list. There are several new people in the party this time and they want to give a chance to them.”