Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain resign from Delhi cabinet

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal accepts resignations; AAP’s Mission 2024 suffers a major setback

NEW DELHI | Updated: 28 February, 2023 6:40 pm IST
Satyendar Jain and Manish Sisodia

In what could be a major setback for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), two of its key leaders, Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain, resigned from the Delhi cabinet. Delhi Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also accepted their resignations.

Meanwhile, AAP sources asserted that the acceptance of resignations is not acceptance of guilt in any way but as an administrative step for the smooth functioning of government.

Sources also said that no new ministers will be inducted into the Delhi cabinet, for now. Sources also said that Sisodia’s portfolios have been assigned to senior ministers Kailash Gahlot and Raj Kumar Anand.

With the resignations of Sisodia and Jain, there are now just five ministers in the Delhi cabinet, including CM Kejriwal, who has not taken any ministry.

“I am stepping away till the charges against me are proven false,” Sisodia wrote in his resignation letter. “There are likely to be more cases against me… God knows these allegations are false,” he added.

 

 

The letter was sent shortly after the Supreme Court refused to entertain his petition challenging his arrest and urged him to approach a lower court first.

Incidentally, the resignations came soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioned why Sisodia and Jain were still in the Delhi government.

Sisodia and Jain have been arrested in separate cases related to corruption. If sentenced to two or more years in jail, both Sisodia and Jain may lose their seats. They could also be barred from contesting for six years.

Delhi Deputy Chief minister Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on Monday for alleged corruption in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy.

With the Supreme Court refusing to entertain his bail plea on Tuesday, February 28, Sisodia hopes for an immediate reprieve as he was already remanded to CBI custody till March 4.

Satyendar Jain, on the other hand, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in May last year for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case.

While Jain was Delhi’s health and education minister, Sisodia was holding 18 portfolios in the Delhi government, which included Finance, Health, Education, Excise, and Labour among others.

Sisodia’s arrest has put a question mark on Delhi’s budget. A new finance minister has to be appointed, and the budget-making exercise will begin afresh.

Apart from administrative challenges, Sisodia’s arrest will pose a big challenge to AAP’s expansion plans. He handled the bulk of work in Delhi which leave 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 – when it hoped to challenge the might of the BJP.

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