As Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won another term to rule Delhi today, two newly-elected MLAs speculated to join his cabinet were Raghav Chadha and Atishi.
Both were advisors to the AAP government but were removed after the centre decided that their appointment was illegal. Both contested last year’s national election but lost to the BJP, which won all seven parliamentary seats in the capital.
Raghav Chadha, a chartered accountant, is AAP’s spokesperson and one of the most affable faces of the party. He won from the Rajinder Nagar constituency by over 20,000 votes. Unconfirmed buzz pegged him as Arvind Kejriwal’s next Finance Minister.
Asked whether he would be the new Delhi Finance Minister, the 31-year-old was non-committal.
“Quite frankly these questions are hypothetical and irrelevant. What matters is that Arvind Kejriwal has won today. What matters is that Mr Kejriwal has got another mandate and all AAP workers, as foot-soldiers of AAP, will be behind him,” Mr Chadha said.
Mr Chadha played a key role in the communication and outreach efforts of the party and is also the party’s in-charge of legal affairs.
When AAP came to power after a landslide in 2015, Mr Chadha, who specialises in international tax and transfer pricing, was appointed advisor in the Finance Ministry headed by Manish Sisodia.
Mr Sisodia held multiple portfolios including Finance, Planning, Urban Development, Education and Revenue. Some of these may be reassigned, say sources.
Atishi, whose alma mater features Delhi’s St Stephens College and Oxford University, has made it clear that she would like to work in the education sector. But some say Mr Sisodia may be reluctant to give up education, the department in which he believes he has done most. Atishi was advisor to Mr Sisodia before she was removed by the centre.