Delhi: President clears appointment of two new ministers in Kejriwal’s cabinet
Rajendra Pal Gautam is an MLA from Seemapuri in northeast Delhi and Kailash Gahlot from Najafgarh in the southwest. Both are lawyers by profession.Updated: May 19, 2017 23:56 IST
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal effected major changes in his cabinet on Friday, inducting two new ministers and shifting the ministries of some of his colleagues.
The two new ministers, Kailash Gahlot and Rajender Pal Gautam, were allocated key ministries by the chief miister.
Legislator from Najafgarh, Kailash Gahlot, replaced Satyendar Jain as Delhi transport minister. Gahlot, a member of state transport authority, told HT that ensuring last mile connectivity in rural areas of Delhi would be his primary focus.
Gahlot will, however, face an uphill task as since its formation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has not been able to add a single new bus to the fleet of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). “Besides that, we need to come up with a plan to ensure that not-so-aam aadmis too use buses in the city,” he said.
Gahlot, who has been practising law in the Delhi High Court for nearly 18 years, has also been given the Law, justice and legislative affairs department apart from information technology and administrative reforms which were earlier with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Rajender Pal Gautam, MLA from Seemapuri, has been given the water ministry, that was held by Kapil Mishra before he was sacked on May 6. After his sacking, Mishra had alleged that he had seen Satyendar Jain give Rs 2 crore to Kejriwal.
Gautam, the AAP’s Dalit face, has also been given social welfare, SC/ST, tourism, arts & culture and languages departments.
With Gautam and Gahlot’s appointment, the Delhi cabinet will have a full strength of seven ministers after eight months.
The position of SC/ST and social welfare had been lying vacant since the then minister Sandeep Kumar was sacked over an alleged sex scandal.
The portfolios were allocated to Gahlot and Gautam after Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal administered the oath of office to the duo at Raj Niwas, the L-G’s office. Kejriwal and Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel attended the oath-taking ceremony.
The ceremony was organised just hours after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent for removal of Kapil Mishra and appointment of the two new ministers. On Thursday, the Union home ministry had approved CM Kejriwal’s recommendations and had forwarded it to the President.
The reshuffle assumes significance as the AAP seeks to regain lost ground after a defeat in the recent MCD polls and also in the Rajouri Garden bypoll.
The government said some portfolios held by Sisodia and Jain were given to the newly appointed ministers as they were already loaded with several departments. However, Kejriwal continues to not hold any portfolio.
“The reshuffle was necessary as a lot needs to be done in three primary sectors – health, education and transport. Work has been distributed to three different ministers so each one can focus on his core area,” a government official said.