Focus on women's safety, but no 'aam aurat' in all-male cabinet

  • Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 14, 2015 20:04 IST

All six women candidates fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won this election, but they could not get ministerial berths at a time when the spotlight is on security and welfare of women in Delhi.

The party has dropped Rakhi Birla who was the women and child welfare minister and the sole female face in the cabinet of the AAP's 49-day government. The portfolio is likely to go to first-time MLA Sandeep Kumar, a lawyer by profession.

The AAP feels the absence of a woman minister will not affect the execution of various women-centric projects. The party also asserts this is just the first version of the cabinet and not a mix that will stay on 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 who wished to remain anonymous said.

The party has in its manifesto promised a vast CCTV network, street lighting, 47 fast-track courts, a women's security force, 5,000 bus marshals and a suraksha (protection) button on mobile phones.

"And don't forget, AAP'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," the leader said.

The AAP 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 added.

Birla, who had conducted a night raid during her term as a minister, had also filed a case against a boy for allegedly attacking her car. The police, however, later said it was a cricket ball. Kejriwal then asked Birla to withdraw the case.

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