New Delhi: Sending a subtle message to her
detractors, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday reshuffled her
Cabinet by dropping a Minister and inducting a loyalist while
indicating change in portfolios of almost all other Ministers.
Social Welfare Minister Mangat Ram Singhal was axed while
67-year-old Ramakant Goswami, a three-time MLA, was inducted
into the Council of Ministers in the revamp described by
Dikshit as an effort to "bring fresh idea" into the
Goswami, a journalist-turned-politician representing
Rajinder Nagar constituency in assembly, was administered oath
of office by Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna at a function,
attended by Dikshit, her ministerial colleagues and top brass
of Delhi Government.
Sources said in redistribution of portfolios, Dikshit is
likely to divest senior Minister A K Walia of the Finance and
Urban Development departments and he may be given charge of
Health and Revenue departments. The Chief Minister may bring
the Finance Department under her control.
Walia is not known to have best of relations with the
Dikshit and there has been difference of opinion between the
two in several matters related to finance.
Describing the revamp as an exercise to bring fresh
thoughts into the Cabinet, Dikshit said the reshuffle has been
made with "blessings" from the party high-command.
"The idea is to bring fresh air into the Cabinet with a
fresh face. Our commitment to the people and to the work we
are doing remains as it is. While carrying out the exercise,
care has been taken to ensure continuity," Dikshit said.
Sources said Singhal, who had hit the headlines for wrong
reasons many times in the last two years, was removed for his
"non-performance" in the reshuffle, the first such exercise by
Dikshit in her third consecutive term as Chief Minister.
They said newly inducted Goswami may be given the charge
of Education Department while Urban Development Department may
go to Raj Kumar Chauhan, a staunch Dikshit loyalist. Chauhan
is likely to be divested of Revenue and Development
Departments while he is set to retain PWD.
The reshuffle takes place just two months after Dikshit
completed two years in office in her third consecutive term as
Chief Minister. Dikshit held a series of meetings yesterday to
finalise the exercise.