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Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party set to give Delhi its youngest cabinet

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 24, 2013
First Published: 00:00 IST(24/12/2013) | Last Updated: 12:42 IST(24/12/2013)

In yet another shift in political demographics, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to give Delhi fresh faces in a fairly young cabinet.

While outgoing Congress ministers have an average age of 63, AAP candidates tipped to be ministers will be, on an average, 35-years-old. In the past, Congress’ Arvinder Singh was the youngest minister to join the cabinet in 2003 at the age of 35.

Apart from 41-year-old Manish Sisodia, who is considered to be the closest aide of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, all cabinet front-runners are relatively unknown faces.

“The popularity of ministers is not important. We want a healthy relationship between the party and the government. The idea is to put in place a mechanism that can efficiently implement our manifesto,” said AAP’s chief strategist, Yogendra Yadav.

Yadav said the road ahead will be challenging since most candidates are first-time ministers. “Since we are running a radical agenda, we want to ensure that we bring in people who share our political spirit and understand government procedures,” he said.

New analysis: AAP govt's life term will depend on Cong's patience, but it may have the upper hand

Read more: AAP govt may not last long, says Prashant Bhushan

HT column: Yes, he can; how Kejriwal became people's champion

One such candidate is 26-year-old Rakhi Birlaan who has no political experience. With a masters degree in journalism, she used to work as a TV journalist before she joined the anti-corruption bandwagon. A few months later, she won the assembly elections from Mangolpuri after defeating Congress’ Raj Kumar Chauhan by a margin of 10,585 votes.

“It’s a generational shift if you compare us with the average BJP and Congress leader. Young profile benefitted me and the party as a whole,” Birlaan recently told HT.

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Saurabh Bhardwaj (34), an engineer who hold a degree in law, defeated BJP’s Ajay Kumar Malhotra by more than 13,000 votes in Greater Kailash. Bhardwaj, who works with a private engineering firm and enjoys social connect, may be another new face among Delhi ministers.

Read more: Nothing unethical about forming govt in Delhi with Cong, says Kejriwal

Read more: Kejriwal a lesson to India’s political class

Read more: The giant killer - Kejriwal stuns political rivals

“Angry people voted against price rise and corruption. People were not satisfied with Waliaji because he never listened to their grievances,” said 40-year-old AAP member Vinod Kumar Binny. He defeated Congress minister AK Walia from Laxmi Nagar and has also been elected as an independent councillor twice.

Another start achiever is 39-year-old Somnath Bharti. He holds a degree in law and a masters degree in science from IIT-Delhi. The former president of IIT-Delhi’s alumni association defeated two political heavyweights in Malviya Nagar — BJP’s Arti Mehra and Kiran Walia of Congress.

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