New names in Kejriwal ministry are both lawyers, one is AAP govt’s Dalit face
Both lawyers, Gautam and Najafgarh legislator Kailash Gehlot have been with the party since 2014.Updated: May 10, 2017 09:50 IST
Seemapuri MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam, one of the two inductees in Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal council of ministers, will be the Aam Aadmi Party’s Dalit face in the government.
Both lawyers, Gautam and Najafgarh legislator Kailash Gehlot have been with the party since 2014.
Gautam told HT that he was informed of the decision by the CM office on Saturday evening and late in the evening Raghav Chadha, national spokesperson, AAP, called him to congratulate on his appointment as minister.
Gautam will fill the berth lying vacant ever since the removal of Sandeep Kumar after an alleged sex scandal in August last year. Kumar was then minister of child welfare and social justice.
However, Gautam said he had not been told his department yet.
“I got a call from the CM office in the evening and informed about the decision of my appointment as a minister. I have no information of about my portfolio. I will try to give my best. Whatever department I get, I will glorify it. I will meet the party’s expectation ,” he said.
Gautam, a practising lawyer, is a law graduate from Delhi University and his chamber is in Tis Hazari courts. He has done a diploma in labour laws and a post-graduate diploma in human resource management.
Kailash Gahlot, MLA from Najafgarh, will replace sacked minister Kapil Mishra. Informing about the party’s decision, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said Mishra was a non-performer.
Gehlot, who hold a masters degree in law, said he had been working with Kejriwal for about four years and joined the party in 2014.
He said he first came to know about his appointment as a minister through a news channel and was later informed by the CM office. “I was conveyed the decision officially in the evening,” he said.
Kapil Mishra’s sacking highlighted the simmering tension between the leadership and Vishwas, which could snowball into a major crisis for the poll-battered AAP.
Party insiders said the removal of Mishra was on the expected lines as he had thrown his weight behind senior party leader Kumar Vishwas, who has been at loggerheads with the leadership.
Soon after the move, Mishra claimed he would ‘expose’ the involvement of certain AAP leaders in an alleged scam on Sunday.
Following the development, Vishwas tweeted, suggesting he is willing to slug it out. “I wish to assure the country and volunteers that we will continue to raise voice against corruption within and outside, irrespective of the consequences. Bharat Mata ki Jai,” Vishwas, who had attributed reasons other than tampering of EVMs for the party’s defeat, tweeted.
Reacting to the development, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the corruption circus of the Kejriwal government stood ‘exposed’. “It is now established that public money has been looted in the Delhi Jal Board tanker scam by the Arvind Kejriwal government,” he alleged.
“Arvind Kejriwal not only owes an explanation to the citizens of Delhi but it is high time he submits his resignation for being involved in this water tanker corruption racket,” he further alleged.
First Published: May 07, 2017 00:19 IST