In Tiny Reshuffle, Arvind Kejriwal Finally Takes Charge Of A Ministry

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has taken over the Water Ministry, giving himself a department for the first time since he took charge in 2015.

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In Tiny Reshuffle, Arvind Kejriwal Finally Takes Charge Of A Ministry

As minister, Arvind Kejriwal will take charge of the Delhi Jal Board

New Delhi:  After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's major reshuffle yesterday comes Arvind Kejriwal's mini-rejig with just one change. The Delhi Chief Minister has taken over the Water Ministry, giving himself a department for the first time since he took charge in 2015. He was "unhappy" with the performance of current minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, say sources.

Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, according to an official message this morning, has "approved the portfolio reshuffle in the Delhi government." As minister, Mr Kejriwal will take charge of the Delhi Jal Board.

For the Water Ministry, this is the third change after Kapil Mishra - who was sacked after he publicly targeted Mr Kejriwal - and Mr Gautam, who was reportedly informed last evening that he was losing his ministry.

Sources say Mr Kejriwal, unmoved so far by opposition jibes of "a chief minister without portfolio", changed his mind after feedback from Bawana, the constituency where his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won a high-stakes bypoll victory last month.

Mr Kejriwal, say party leaders, promised while campaigning in Bawana to improve its water supply and he believes that people voted AAP expecting it to deliver on that pledge.

But over the past few weeks, AAP has been frustrated over the water board's alleged refusal to consult with its minister; Mr Gautam had complained that he was not looped in on major decisions.

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The Chief Minister's move signals his return to a theme that endeared AAP to the voters of Delhi and propped up the party's successful poll campaign - "Bijli-paani" or power and water. After coming to power in 2013, the AAP government had announced that it would provide 20,000 litres of water free to every household.

In May, the AAP chief fired Kapil Mishra - his close aide-turned-number one critic - saying his performance was far below the mark. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia briefly took charge of water before Mr Gautam was given the department.

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