The 18 portfolios of the Delhi government handled by Manish Sisodia will be divided among two ministers of the Delhi government for now, sources have told NDTV. Kailash Gahlot and Raaj Kumar Anand will each be in charge of two signature portfolios of Mr Sisodia, sources said.
Mr Anand will be looking after the showcase departments of Education and Health, which the Aam Aadmi Party considers its crown jewels.
Kailash Gehlot, one of the senior members of Arvind Kejriwal’s cabinet, will be in charge of the vital power and water departments. AAP’s delivery on its promise of free power and water in Delhi is seen as a key aspect of its sweeping victory in Punjab.
He will also oversee finance, the most crucial department ahead of the Delhi budget due in March.
Mr Sisodia, arrested in connection with the alleged liquor scam in Delhi, stepped down as a minister today. So did another Delhi minister, Satyendar Jain, who has been in jail for around eight months.
Before quitting, Mr Sisodia was handling 18 of Delhi’s 33 ministries, including health, which was the responsibility of Satyendar Jain till his arrest.
Party sources said there will be no addition to the cabinet till the Delhi budget is presented next month.
Sources say Mr Gahlot will take over eight portfolios that also include Home, Urban Development, Planning, Public works Department, Irrigation and Flood Control. Mr Anand’s share includes Land and Building, Vigilance, Services, Tourism, Art Culture and Language, Labour, Employment and Industries.
The AAP government had started out with seven ministers, and now has only five. Mr Kejriwal, the face of the party and the government, has not handled any department so far.
There is speculation that the crunch might tie him up with governance in Delhi ahead of a string of state elections this year and the general elections the next.
AAP, which got the national party status with last year’s Gujarat elections, was planning to contest in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Mr Sisodia faces corruption allegations in connection with a new liquor sale policy in 2021. The CBI contends that liquor companies were involved in framing of the policy, for which kickbacks to the tune of Rs 30 crore were paid by a liquor lobby it dubbed the “South Group”.
The policy would have led to a 12 per cent profit for them, of which 6 per cent was routed to public servants through middlemen, the agency claimed.