Manish Sisodia’s recent arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped excise policy has created a significant hole in the AAP and the Delhi Government. With his portfolio spanning several critical departments, including education, finance, and labour, distributing his work will be a tall task for the party.
Moreover, Sisodia’s absence will be keenly felt, as he is one of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s most trusted lieutenants. The party will struggle to find someone as recognisable among the public or as trusted by Kejriwal to fill his shoes. Jain’s ongoing absence, who has been in jail for eight months on money laundering charges, has also affected morale.
The Timing of Sisodia’s Arrest
The timing of Sisodia’s arrest is politically crucial, as Kejriwal plans to expand AAP’s electoral prospects across four states: Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Sisodia’s arrest comes when the party hopes to contest upcoming Assembly elections, and senior leaders have expressed concerns about the impact it may have on the party’s chances.
The BJP’s Perspective
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) understands Manish Sisodia’s importance and the impact of his absence. One BJP leader summed up Sisodia’s role, saying, “Kejriwal is the public face, while Sisodia is the government’s administrative face. Unfortunately, we have no such face in Delhi. We did not get someone like him no matter where we looked.” The BJP has been trying to make inroads into Delhi’s politics but has struggled to find a leader with Sisodia’s level of recognition and trust.
Manish Sisodia’s Importance in Delhi Politics and Government
Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister, is a key figure in both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Delhi Government. He heads 18 departments, including education, finance, vigilance, and labour, and has been instrumental in the party’s success in Delhi’s elections. Sisodia’s portfolio has expanded considerably since his cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain was arrested on allegations of money laundering in May 2022.
The Education Portfolio
Sisodia is particularly well-known for his work in the education portfolio. The AAP has often referred to him as “India’s best education minister,” and the promise of better government schools has been a significant part of the party’s electoral success in Delhi. The ‘Delhi model’ of education, which focuses on improving infrastructure, teacher training, and learning outcomes, has been taken to other states where the AAP contests assembly polls.
Manish Sisodia’s importance to the AAP and the Delhi Government cannot be overstated. His absence will be felt keenly, and distributing his work will be a significant challenge for the party. The timing of his arrest, ahead of the Delhi Government’s Budget Session and as the AAP plans to expand its electoral prospects across four states, is a cause for concern. However, party leaders have called the allegations against Sisodia false and fabricated, and the AAP will undoubtedly continue to fight for his release.