Another minister out, Kejriwal finding it hard to hold cabinet together
Of the six ministers appointed in the Kejriwal Cabinet, after its return to power last year, one was a Muslim, one each from the Dalit and traders’ communities and two from the Purvanchal region. However, three of the original ministers are already out of the team, all courting controversy ranging from corruption to sexual misconduct.
“Acts of Sandeep Kumar shocking and unfortunate. Such people don’t deserve to be Minister, yet alone WCD Minister! Good Govt has sacked him,” tweeted chief of Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal.
While Maliwal was reacting to the removal of the third minister from the Kejriwal cabinet in 19 months, it brought to fore the AAP leadership’s inability to put in a right mix in the Cabinet despite having a problem of plenty.
The AAP government has 67 legislators in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
Like other political parties, AAP also tried to keep in mind the right mix of combinations, in terms of political support base (caste, religion and region), while deciding on the Cabinet.
Of the six ministers appointed in the Kejriwal Cabinet, after its return to power last year, one was a Muslim, one each from the Dalit and traders’ communities and two from the Purvanchal region.
However, three of the original ministers are already out of the team, all courting controversy ranging from corruption to sexual misconduct.
Read| AAP’s Dalit face Sandeep Kumar was a giant killer in 2015 polls
Due to want of stability in the Cabinet, the portfolio allocation has been lopsided. Two ministers, Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain, handle most of the major departments.
While the chief minister holds no portfolio, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia heads 11 departments. Seven key departments, including health, PWD and transport are under Jain.
The transport department was earlier headed by labour minister Gopal Rai. Kejriwal reallocated the department to Jain reportedly after a controversy surrounding the implementation of a premium bus-aggregator policy. The government maintained Rai was shifted on health grounds following a procedure.
Party sources said while the government was still to announce a replacement for Kumar, it was likely to replace him with another Dalit face.
The AAP has been projecting itself as a party of the poor and has been vocal on Dalit issues. It has been targeting the BJP government at the Centre over recent incidents of atrocities against Dalits across the country.
The party is also planning to come up with a special Dalit manifesto this month for the Punjab assembly elections, scheduled early next year.
Twelve of the 70 seats in Delhi assembly are reserved for scheduled castes. All of these seats were won by AAP in the 2015 assembly polls.
While Rakhi Bidlan was recently appointed as deputy Speaker, Seemapuri legislator Rajendra Pal Gautam has emerged as one of the active legislators in the assembly.
Read| AAP volunteer files molestation case against ‘colleagues’