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Will Delhi get 3 in Centre?

delhi Updated: May 19, 2009 00:07 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee

Does Delhi merit three ministers with central portfolios? That seems to be the question Congress leaders are asking.

With the party's clean sweep in the city, several MPs are vying for a ministerial berth - some with experience, others first-time Parliamentarians.

While Chandni Chowk MP Kapil Sibal is a Union Cabinet minister, New Delhi MP Ajay Maken is minister of state for urban development in the outgoing ministry.

Senior party leaders said it was possible that the Centre might stick with the present two ministers—Sibal and Maken—and not create a third berth for a Delhi man.

"Apart from Mahabal Mishra and Ramesh Kumar, every Delhi MP is a second-time MP now," said a senior party leader, requesting anonymity. “The national leadership will have to present a logic for increasing the number of ministers from Delhi to three .

Asked whether he was interested in a ministerial berth, Aggarwal said. "I only want to say the party's performance in Delhi was because people across the country believed in Sonia Gandhi as a secular person."

Sibal's position in the Union Cabinet was said to be as good as granted granted given his seniority and the fact that he is the public face of the party. "His portfolio may change to either law or ministry of external affairs," said the leader.

Jai Prakash Aggarwal and East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit, who is Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit's son, are the other two names doing the rounds.

"Other than Sibal and Maken, Delhi Congress chief Jai Prakash Aggarwal is the third serious contender. It is unlikely Sandeep Dikshit would be considered given the fact that his mother is already the Delhi CM," said a party source.

Sandeep Dikshit is said to be close to Rahul Gandhi. The body language the two displayed in a pre-poll rally in Northeast Delhi constituency also seemed to indicate the rapport between the two.