Delhi Cabinet Minister Atishi is now by far the most heavyweight minister in the national capital after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, holding as many as 14 portfolios. As per an official notification issued today, Atishi has been given the charge of the Vigilance and Services departments.
The notification was issued following approval by Lt Governor V.K. Saxena on the recommendation made by Kejriwal that the Vigilance and Services departments be allocated to Atishi.
Kejriwal had moved the recommendation on August 8, and the Lt Governor cleared the proposal on August 12, the same day the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023 was notified. The law gives the Centre and its representative in Delhi, the Lt Governor, a decisive say in matters relating to the bureaucracy in the capital.
The two departments were previously held by cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj.
Services and Vigilance gain significance in the light of the new law, with the two departments having a bearing on the bureaucrats in Delhi. Atishi has been assigned the two departments at a time when it has become more challenging than ever for the Kejriwal regime to assert itself in matters relating to the civil services of Delhi. There has been a constant tussle between the AAP government in the capital and the Lt Governor, with matters relating to Services and Vigilance forming a major chunk of the contentious issues.
Atishi's stature, meanwhile, is now much taller than her cabinet colleagues and she is virtually number two in the Delhi government. She already held portfolios that included Education, Finance, Revenue, Public Works Department, Women and Child Development, Power, Tourism, and Planning. She had made an entry into the Delhi Cabinet on March 9, 2023 in the wake of the arrest of former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, and before him, another Delhi cabinet minister Satyendra Jain.