Atishi, Raghav Chadha likely to be left out as Kejriwal plans to retain old Cabinet

Arvind Kejriwal will retain all the incumbent ministers in his new cabinet as he takes oath as chief minister of Delhi for the third term on Sunday.

Kejriwal will be sworn in along with his minister on February 16 at the Ramlila Maidan as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) forms a government for the third time. 

Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia, who served as Kejriwal's deputy in the government, said all cabinet ministers will also take oath at the event.

The grand ceremony on February 16 at Ramlila Maidan in a will be open to public, Sisodia said.

The portfolios are likely to be allotted later.

In the outgoing cabinet, there are six ministers beside Kejriwal - Manish Sisodia, Satyendra Kumar Jain, Gopal Rai, Imran Hussain, Rajendra Pal Gautam and Kailash Gahlot. 

Deputy chief minister Sisodia held portfolios of education, finance, tourism, women and child development portfolios while Jain was looking after the functioning of the PWD, health and industries departments. Gopal Rai was the labour minister, Rajendra Pal Gautam the social welfare minister, Hussain food and civil supplies minister and Gahlot the transport minister.

Earlier reports had speculated that the newly-elected MLAs Atishi and Raghav Chadha may get Cabinet berths as both had worked as advisors to different ministries but were sacked by the Union government. 

Nine top advisers to the Delhi government, including Atishi and Chadha, were sacked by the Union Home Ministry in 2018. They both unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

An AAP functionary said Chadha, a chartered accountant and a young face of the AAP, and Oxford-educated Atishi, will have a bigger role in the party in the future and they might also be given charges of some government-run bodies.

The ceremony at the Ramlila Maidan also assumes significance as it was from this ground that he along with Anna Hazare led a massive anti-corruption agitation.

His previous oath-taking ceremonies - in 2013 and 2015 - were held at the same venue.

With his third term, Kejriwal will also become only second leader after Sheila Dixit to have been sworn in as Delhi chief minister for the third term. Dixit served at the post for 15 years from 1998 and 2013. 

The AAP swept the 2020 Delhi Assembly polls, bagging 62 out 70 seats and decimating its rivals BJP and Congress. The BJP bagged eight seats while the Congress failed to open its account in the second consecutive election.