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Who Will Replace Arvind Kejriwal? Massive Leadership Crisis Before AAP After Arvind Kejriwal Arrested

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AAP will now have to come up with a worthy leader to replace Arvind Kejriwal (File)

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in the alleged excise policy scam has posed a leadership crisis in the Aam Aadmi Party as well as the Delhi government, with his wife Sunita Kejriwal and cabinet ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj being talked about as a possible replacement.

The challenge before the AAP now is to come up with a worthy leader who can handle both the party and its government in Delhi in Mr Kejriwal’s absence.

However, it is indeed a big task for the AAP leadership to come up with a name that at least comes close to Mr Kejriwal’s stature as the party’s convener since its inception in 2012 and the Delhi Chief Minister for three terms spanning nearly a decade.

The urgency of the task becomes even more pressing as the AAP is gearing up to contest the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Assam, and Haryana where Mr Kejriwal was to be a key campaigner of the party.

Apart from Sunita Kejriwal, who is a former IRS officer, the names of AAP Ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj too are ding the rounds for the top job.

Atishi, who holds the most number of portfolios in the Delhi government, including education, finance, PWD, revenue and services, is considered a close aide of Arvind Kejriwal.

She is also a spokesperson of the party, who has been defending the AAP government and Arvind Kejriwal, and attacking the BJP in her press conferences and appearances on news channels.

Saurabh Bharadwaj, too, is also a prominent member of the Delhi cabinet with several important portfolios, including health and urban development.

He is also a well known face of the party, often engaged in defending the it and its leaders and counter-attacking the BJP and its government at the Centre on issues of governance and politics.

However, in December last year, the AAP launched a signature campaign “Main Bhi Kejriwal (I Am Also Kejriwal)’, asking people whether he should resign as Chief Minister or run the government from jail if he is arrested.

During the campaign, the AAP chief met party MLAs and Delhi municipal corporation councilors for their feedback on the issue.

Mr Bharadwaj recently told reporters in a press conference, “Nearly 90% of people in this exercise opined that Mr Kejriwal has the mandate of Delhi and has been elected. Hence, only he would run the government in Delhi no matter from where.”

The AAP leadership also has to find Mr Kejriwal’s replacement to head the party that runs the governments in Delhi and Punjab besides having MLAs in Gujarat and Goa. The options are rather limited for the party.

Apart from Sunita Kejriwal, name of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Atishi too are taking rounds as leaders who could hold the responsibility of new AAP national convener.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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