Business News/ News / India/  Delhi Budget in jeopardy after Sisodia's arrest - Will governance be impacted?

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on Sunday following a lengthy interrogation. While AAP leaders insist that the senior lawmaker is ‘innocent’ and has been charged in a ‘false’ case, Sisodia had asserted earlier in the day that he does not care if he is "jailed" for a few months. But with top lieutenants Satyendar Jain and Manish Sisodia in custody the Arvind Kejriwal-led government appears to be on somewhat shaky grounds. 

With the Chief Minister not holding any portfolios, it had fallen on Sisodia to handle a long list of departments as well as anything not specifically allotted to other ministers. 

The Deputy CM currently holds 18 out of 33 portfolios in the Delhi government. This includes major departments such as education, finance and home. While he had initially started out with a shorter list, Sisodia had taken over Jain's portfolios last year following his imprisonment. 

The Kejriwal-led Cabinet has six ministers - including Jain and Sisodia. According to the provisions within the Indian constitution the Delhi cabinet can have a maximum of seven members. 

Also read: Delhi: Portfolios held by Satyendra Jain allocated to Deputy CM Manish Sisodia

With Sisodia's arrest mere days before the Delhi budget, the Arvind Kejriwal government has been left scrambling to find a replacement. Reports indicate that Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot may present the Delhi government budget for the next financial year. However, it remains to be seen whether the portfolios will be redistributed or replacements sought. 

"As there was a possibility that the deputy chief minister may be arrested by the CBI, Gahlot was attending budget-related meetings for the last few days. Gahlot is likely to present the 2023-24 budget. It is scheduled to be presented next month," an AAP functionary told news agency PTI.

With Sisodia's arrest, 18 portfolios will have to be reassigned or temporarily handled by other members of the cabinet - most of whom have so far operated with a significantly lower number of departments under their purview. 

Environment Minister Gopal Rai has only three departments while Imran Hussain is in charge of only two departments -- food and civil supplies, and election. Kailash Gahlot is in charge of six departments, including revenue, and transport while Raj Kumar Anand has four portfolios.

(With inputs from agencies)


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Updated: 26 Feb 2023, 10:36 PM IST
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