No Women In Kejriwal’s Cabinet, Not Even Atishi
After a clean sweep in the recently-concluded elections, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal is set to swear in as Delhi’s Cheif Minister for his second term. In 2020, eight women candidates have won the elections, as compared to six in 2015, all from AAP. This despite the fact that the party’s total number of seats has decreased from 67 to 62. AAP fielded a total of nine women candidates of which only one woman lost the election – Sarita Singh from Rohtas Nagar. In 2015, it had fielded six women candidates, all of whom won the election.
Despite such a tremendous winning rate among women candidates, AAP seems to be failing them once again, since Kejriwal has made his intention of retaining its old cabinet of six all-men ministers clear. “The Chief Minister feels that retaining ministers whose work won the party a second term is the right thing to do,” NDTV reports.
In 2020, eight women candidates have won the elections, as compared to six in 2015, all from AAP. But none of them will be a part of the Kejriwal cabinet.
The 2015 Delhi cabinet included Manish Sisodia: Minister of Education, Urban Development and Finance, and Satyendra Jain: Minister of Power, Home, Industries, PWD and Irrigation and Flood Control. Apart from these, the cabinet also included Gopal Rai who looked after employment, development, labour, general administration department, irrigation and flood control portfolios. Kailash Gehlot oversaw Revenue, Administrative Reforms, Information & Technology, Law, Justice and Legislative Affairs and Transport. The portfolios of Food and Civil Supplies and Election were with Imran Hussain, while Rajendra Pal Gautam handled portfolios of Social Welfare, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Gurudwara Elections, Water and Registrar of Cooperative Societies.
Atishi, who won the election from Kalkaji, may not get the education portfolio, despite being the key advisor to Sisodia in planning and implementing the education policies that transformed public school education in the capital. Reportedly “Sisodia might be unwilling to give up the ministry where he had put in the most work.”
Incumbent MLA Rakhi Birla from Mangolpuri constituency held the cabinet ministry of Women and Child, Social Welfare and Languages, for a few months in AAP’s first term between 2013 and 2014. She also became the youngest ever cabinet minister of Delhi at 28 years of age. However, she will not make a come back to the cabinet in this term.
AAP was notoriously in news for sending barely around 10 percent women candidates to poll. Kejriwal himself made a highly sexist comment during his speech on the day the city went to vote, asking women to discuss with men as to who deserves to be voted in, for which he was rightly slammed. With no women in the cabinet, the policies tend to have a masculine perspective. Even his policies including the free ride for women in Delhi buses, CCTV installation and equipping buses with marshals, etc. have been criticized across the board for dealing with the issue of women’s safety from the point of surveillance, and not focussing on sensitizing men into not committing crimes against women. A very big reason for this could be the missing women in the Delhi cabinet as it would have diversified these policy-making discussions.
This time eight women candidates have won the elections compared to six in 2015 all from AAP despite the fact that the party’s total number of seats won decreased from 67 to 62 this time. AAP fielded a total of nine women candidates of which only one woman lost the election – Sarita Singh from Rohtas Nagar.
Before Delhi went to poll, SheThePeople asked women students what their expectations from the upcoming government were. One of the students from St Stephens College and a member of Pinjra Tod collective, Maitreyi Jha had also resounded similar concerns when she said, “Specifically talking from a woman’s perspective, the initiatives taken by the current government are largely appreciable but the whole conversation around women’s safety is looked either from the perspective of seeing women as a mother, daughter, sister, etc. or increasing surveillance. With the installation of CCTV cameras everywhere, we also need to understand that these things can cause further issues and might not contribute to women’s safety as they think.”
While the swearing-in ceremony of Delhi ministers will be held on Sunday, here’s hoping Arvind Kejriwal gives its women MLAs their due and involves them in policy-making at a ministerial level.
Picture Credit- The Hindu