Arvind Kejriwal Accused Of Nepotism Over Top Women's Rights Appointment

15/07/2015 3:58 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
FILE – In this Saturday, March 8, 2014 file photo, leader of Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man’s Party, Arvind Kejriwal attends an election rally in Ahmadabad, India. Kejriwal was on the front page of nearly every Indian newspaper on Wednesday, Feb. 11, celebrating election results that again make him New Delhi’s chief minister. Kejriwal and the party he created had routed the country’s best-funded and best-organized political machine and dealt an embarassing blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)

NEW DELHI -- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's decision to appoint his advisor Swati Maliwal as the next chief of the Delhi Commission for Women sparked accusations of "nepotism" against the Aam Aadmi Party chief on Wednesday.

Maliwal, a software engineer, was part of the core team at Kejriwal's NGO Parivartan, and she is currently his advisor on grievances. The anti-corruption activist is also the wife of AAP leader Naveen Jaihind.

Maliwal will replace current DCW chief Barkha Shukla Singh, a former Congress lawmaker, who has a stormy relationship with AAP over accusations of sexual harassment and domestic violence levelled against senior leaders in the party.

Defending Kejriwal's choice, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that Maliwal had nothing to do with the party, and she had been chosen on her own merit for being an RTI activist and defending the rights of farmers. Singh said that Maliwal's marriage to Jaihind did not detract from her public service.

But Singh, the outgoing DCW chief, questioned Maliwal's experience in women's issues.

"The Aam Aadmi Party's true face and character is now visible for everyone. The DCW chief post is a very big post and should be for someone very senior, who is experienced." she said. "Maliwal, who I understand is Kejriwal's cousin, is being put at this post so that no justice can take place."

Mocking Kejriwal, BJP Delhi chief Satish Upadhyay asked whether the AAP chief was taking forward the 'jijaji parampara' of the Congress Party.

"The people of Delhi want to know whether Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is taking forward the "jijaji parampara" of the Congress. Media reports are saying that Naveen Jaihind is the brother-in-law. Someone else is saying that he has other personal relations," he said.

Earlier in the day, the Congress Party accused Kejriwal of playing favourites. "This is a clear case of nepotism. AAP does opposite of what they say in public," said Congress leader P.C. Chacko.

Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who recently parted ways with AAP, said the party should appoint "politically neutral people" instead of "misusing these posts like others."

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