With his renewed focus on governance post Aam Aadmi Party’s drubbing in the municipal elections, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is going to expand his cabinet soon.
The government is likely to induct a Dalit face as the seventh minister in Delhi’s cabinet, filling the post for important departments like social welfare, women and children, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, and languages.
The position has been lying vacant for over eight months since the then minister Sandeep Kumar was sacked over an alleged sex scandal. Kumar is an MLA from the reserved constituency Sultanpur Majra. Also, with labour minister Gopal Rai becoming the AAP Delhi convener, party members said changes in Delhi cabinet are likely.
“Like our party is being restructured post the MCD results, the government will also see changes. The AAP government has already done good work, but as pointed out by the CM on Saturday, we must do even more from here on. So, Kejriwal will surely revitalise the cabinet,” AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said.
With projects being implemented in the health and education sector, improving public transport is going to be the top priority for government now. “Projects on water supply, health and education have taken off, but things haven’t picked up in the transport sector. Hence, we have been told to suggest solutions for improving transport systems among other issues in our respective constituencies,” said AAP national executive member and Seemapuri (reserved seat) MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam.
Gautam, who also heads AAP’s legal cell, is one of the frontrunners in the race for the seventh cabinet minister. When asked about the matter, he said, “I have only heard about this, but got no formal communication from Kejriwalji. Whatever work I am assigned, I am ready to fulfill it to the best of my abilities.”
Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti also confirmed that “some kind of rejig” in the cabinet afoot. “Arvindji is definitely going to take a relook at the cabinet and overall governance. Besides, Gopal Rai has been made the convener of the party’s Delhi unit. So, may be the cabinet could see a reshuffle of some departments,” he said.
Post the civic poll result, the party will hold its second Political Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting on Sunday. On Thursday, the PAC had first met after Wednesday’s MCD results and had ratified the decision to make Gopal Rai, known for his skills in team management, the convenor of the Delhi unit.
Rai replaced Dilip Pandey, who was in the post ever since AAP came to power in Delhi in 2015. Pandey submitted his resignation soon after the poll results put AAP at a distant second with 48 seats against the 181 that BJP won in the three civic bodies.