New Delhi: Swati Maliwal, wife of a prominent AAP leader, will be the new chief of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), it was announced on Wednesday.
“Swati Maliwal’s name has been finalised for the post. A notification will be issued soon,” a Delhi government official told IANS. Maliwal, 30, is an RTI activist and an early member of India Against Corruption, many of whose members later joined the Aam Aadmi Party. She is married to senior AAP functionary Naveen Jaihind.
Maliwal will succeed Barkha Singh, who retires on Friday and who has had repeated run-ins with AAP leaders. An official said Maliwal was also an advisor to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The appointment triggered predictable criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. Kejriwal denied charges that Maliwal was related to him.
“Some media houses and opposition leaders (are) alleging that Swati is my cousin. Complete nonsense. She is not even remotely connected,” he tweeted. Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay, however, took on Kejriwal.
“When the AAP came to power, Kejriwal had strongly protested against the appointment of Barkha Singh to the DCW. He had said that the DCW chief should be non-partisan. What has happened to that morality now?” he asked.
“With Maliwal’s appointment, it seems Kejriwal has taken inspiration from his Congress mentors and adopted the concept of family politics.
“Swati happens to be the wife of Naveen Jaihind, a close associate of Kejriwal and an AAP member… They have family connections too,” he added. Delhi Congress spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee charged Kejriwal with promoting nepotism.
“Maliwal’s appointment is an example of nepotism which Kejriwal used to oppose,” she said. AAP leader Sanjay Singh defended Maliwal and her association with the AAP. He said she was very much eligible for the post. “But Swati Maliwal is not a member of AAP. She has been made the DCW chief on the strength of her capabilities,” he said.