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No Space for Atishi, Raghav Chadha in Delhi Cabinet as Kejriwal to Stick With Tried-and-Tested Formula

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi Marlena displays victory sign after party's victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, in New Delhi. (Image: PTI)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi Marlena displays victory sign after party's victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, in New Delhi. (Image: PTI)

Sources said Kejriwal will repeat the Cabinet as all seven sitting ministers from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won their seats in the Delhi Assembly elections, results of which were declared on Tuesday.

New Delhi: Prominent new faces Atishi and Raghav Chadha are unlikely to be get ministerial berths in the Delhi government as Arvind Kejriwal is not in the favour of making any changes to his Cabinet.

Sources said Kejriwal will repeat the Cabinet as all seven sitting ministers from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won their seats in the Delhi Assembly elections, results of which were declared on Tuesday.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Rajendra Pal Gautam, Satyendar Jain, Kailash Gahlot, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain are likely to be retained in the new AAP government, said the sources, adding that the portfolios will be decided later.

Kejriwal will be sworn in as chief minister on Sunday for the third consecutive time.

With Kejriwal and Sisodia continuing to occupy the top two posts and Rai and Jain being the other key members of the Cabinet, there remained only three slots for any reshuffle.

There had been speculation that Atishi could be given a separate portfolio after her work in reforming the education sector with Sisodia was lauded, while there were rumours that Chadha could be given the finance ministry. Both were contributing to the state government in different capacities as advisers before being removed by the Centre, citing their "illegal appointments".

But faced with a problem of plenty after another landslide win in Delhi, Kejriwal has decided to stick with his tried-and-tested team and not rock the boat. Since there cannot be more than seven ministers in the Delhi government, accommodating the new faces was always going to be a tough task.

Keeping the two young leaders, along with another close Kejriwal aide Dilip Pandey, free of any ministerial responsibilities, would also let the AAP focus on expanding its national footprint, as it has hinted since Tuesday. They are, however, likely to continue with their attachments with various ministries to assist in the duties.

In the previous Delhi government, Sisodia, apart from being the deputy chief minister, also handled the key education and finance portfolios. He was re-elected from Patparganj after a close contest.

Health and home minister Satyendra Jain from Shakur Basti and labour and development minister Gopal Rai from Babarpur are two other senior government functionaries who won their seats.

The other three ministers to sail through were water and SC/ST minister Rajendra Pal Gautam from Seemapuri, law and transport minister Kailash Gahlot from Najafgarh, and food and civil supplies minister Imran Hussain from Ballimaran.

The ministers will take oath of office at a ceremony at Ramlila Maidan on February 16. The swearing-in ceremony will be attended by chief ministers of several states, including West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra’s Uddhav Thackeray and Andhra Pradesh’s Jagan Mohan Reddy.