Atishi, Bharadwaj to take oath on March 9

AAP leaders Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj will share Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s burden

NEW DELHI | Updated: 07 March, 2023 11:59 pm IST
Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj will be included in the Delhi cabinet as ministers on Thursday.

As per the sources from the government, LG Vinai Kumar Verma will administer the oath to both leaders on Thursday, March 9 at the governor’s house.

Bharadwaj is a two-time MLA from Greater Kailash, while Atishi is an MLA from Kalkaji. Bharadwaj had earlier become a minister when the AAP formed the government for the first time in 2013.

The allocation of their portfolios will take place once both leaders take the oath on Thursday.

The arrest of Delhi Deputy Chief minister Manish Sisodia by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in relation to the now-scrapped Delhi Excise Policy Case, increased the burden on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

With CM Kejriwal focused on expanding the party base beyond Delhi, it was Sisodia who virtually ran the show. Sisodia had been looking after 18 government departments, some of which were originally under another senior AAP leader, Satyendar Jain, who too is under arrest in regard to a money laundering case.

On Tuesday, March 7, President of India Droupadi Murmu accepted the resignations of Sisodia and Jain. Party sources had earlier said that until time new ministers are appointed, the present minister Kailash Gahlot, who is the transport minister will also look after finance, planning, the public works department, power, home, UD, irrigation, and flood control water.

Another Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand, who has a social welfare justice department, would be looking after education, Land and Buildings, Vigilance, Services, Tourism, Art, Culture and Language, Labour, Employment, Health, and Industries.

Apart from administrative challenges, Sisodia’s arrest will pose a big challenge to AAP’s expansion plans. He handled the bulk of the work in Delhi, leaving CM Kejriwal to focus entirely on the party’s expansion and campaign across the country.

While Sisodia also handled Jain’s portfolios following his arrest, sources said that CM Kejriwal might take up some ministries himself. With CM Kejriwal busy in Delhi, it could be a huge setback for AAP ahead of the 2024 general election as it hoped to challenge the might of the BJP.

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