Lekhi in, Harsh Vardhan all set for Delhi return

Two-time BJP Lok Sabha MP from New Delhi Meenakshi Lekhi replaced the party’s veteran local leader and Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan in the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.

Party sources said Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s exit heralds his return to Delhi politics given his “seniority, experience and goodwill” in the run-up to the civic elections due early next year.

“Dr. Harsh Vardhan was the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate in the 2013 Delhi Assembly elections. No one knows the city as well as him and the party’s State unit will do much better if he is at the helm in one way or another, especially with the municipal elections around the corner,” said a senior leader from the party’s State unit.

According to party sources, Ms. Lekhi’s legal acumen and experience in the administration of Lutyens’ Delhi where most foreign embassies are located, as Member, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), was expected to inform the choice of portfolios for her. Ms. Lekhi, a practising Supreme Court lawyer, was named Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture later on Wednesday.

Both Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Ms. Lekhi, as MPs representing the Chandni Chowk and New Delhi constituencies, are scheduled to be part of a citywide protest, over water scarcity and quality, along with the rest of their five MP colleagues as well as the party’s senior State leadership, on Thursday.

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