Suave and efficacious Kailash Gahlot, so far the third and now the most important cabinet minister in the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government, is set to take over the heavy-duty workload of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who resigned from his cabinet post on Tuesday after being arrested by the CBI.
Gahlot, 49, has been the face of reforms introduced by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the transport sector, including speedy transition to electric mobility to cut down on Delhi’s major issue of air pollution, training and inducting women bus drivers and pink passes for women commuting via state-run buses, among others.
Hours after Sisodia’s resignation from the post, the AAP on Tuesday evening announced that the deputy chief minister’s portfolios will be divided between Gahlot and Raaj Kumar Anand.
After Sisodia and Satyendar Jain, who too was picked up by central investigating agencies and is in jail for the past nine months, Gahlot held the most number of and important portfolios in the city government.
Jain held eight ministries — including some of the most important departments such as health, home, public works department (PWD), water and power — which were handed over to Sisodia after his arrest. Until Tuesday, Sisodia held 18 of the 33 government portfolios.
Gahlot, who so far held six portfolios, post Sisodia’s resignation, has been handed over charge of eight more departments, taking the tally to 14. This makes him the only minister to head these many departments after Sisodia.
The six portfolios so far held by Gahlot are transport, revenue, law, administrative reforms, women and child development and information and technology. In addition to these, the minister has now been handed over the most crucial workload of Sisodia — finance, planning, PWD, power, home, water, urban development, irrigation & flood control (I&Fc) and all other departments, not specifically allotted to any minister.
Clearly, Gahlot now has his task cut out as Delhi’s 2023-24 budget is to be presented in the third week of March. With the responsibility of the finance department, it is Gahlot who will present the budget in the Delhi Assembly.
With inputs from News18