All six women candidates fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won this election but none could get a ministerial berth, especially at a time when the spotlight is on the security and welfare of women in Delhi.
The party has dropped Rakhi Birla, who was women and child welfare minister and sole woman face in the cabinet of Aam Aadmi Party’s 49-day government straddling 2013 and 2014. The portfolio is likely to go to first-time MLA Sandeep Kumar, who is a lawyer.
Rakhi Birla is known to have often taken on cops and done night patrolling.
Aam Aadmi Party feels the absence of a woman minister will not affect execution of various women-centric projects.
The party says it is just the first cabinet, and it’s not a mix that will stay for five years. “The chief minister himself will be directly involved in these projects. The roadmap is ready. Also, a number of committees and bodies will be formed to drive these projects, and some of our competent women MLAs will be adequately represented,” a senior leader said.
The party has in its manifesto promised a vast CCTV network, street lighting, 47 fast-track courts, women’s security force, 5,000 bus marshals and suraksha buttons on mobile phones.
“And don’t forget that Aam Aadmi Party’s women’s wing chief, Shalimar Bagh MLA Bandana Kumar, is likely to be elected as the deputy speaker. She will be assisting Ram Niwas Goel, the legislator for Shahdara who is the first choice for the speaker’s post,” he said.
Rakhi Birla had filed a case against a young boy for allegedly stoning her car.
The police, however, said it was a cricket ball. Arvind Kejriwal then asked her to withdraw the case.
The party also does not rule out a cabinet reshuffle.
“It’s a mandate for five years. We are assessing MLAs and will judge them on their work in their constituencies. We haven’t shut doors,” the AAP leader said.
The Chief Minister-elect Arvind Kejriwal with his six colleagues will take oath on Saturday at Ramlila Maidan, the sprawling ground which witnessed his maiden swearing-in as chief minister.