New Delhi: The AAP refuted charges of nepotism on Wednesday in appointing Swati Maliwal, wife of party leader Naveen Jaihind, as the head of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), saying she had a long record of "activism" in different spheres.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was also quick to deny that Maliwal was related to him.
"Some media houses and opposition leaders alleging that Swati is my cousin. Complete nonsense. She is not even remotely connected," Kejriwal tweeted.
The party said Maliwal has a long record of "activism" in different spheres and the appointment was done on "merit".
"We have not heard of any decision being taken by the Delhi government in appointing Swati Maliwal as the chairperson of the DCW. However, if this is the case we welcome the move. She has a long history of activism in the field of anti-corruption, RTI and women empowerment. After (deceased AAP leader) Santosh Koli, her name is taken in same breath in the party when it comes to commitment and aggression", party leader Dilip Pandey said.
"Plus she has a proven track record in the field of activism. The post of the DCW was being used a retirement place. Barkha Singh, who lost in the polls, were accomodated there. Swati Maliwal can justice to the post," Pandey said.
Maliwal has been associated with Kejriwal since India Against Corruption (IAC) days. She is also the wife of Naveen Jaihind, a key party leader from Haryana. Jaihind is also a known Kejriwal loyalist.
Incidentally, AAP had always maintained that the post of the DCW is being "politically misused" and it would ensure that it does not happen during its tenure.
"I would like to say it on record that she is not a member of the Aam Aadmi Party," Pandey said.
Meanwhile, Swaraj Abhiyan leader and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, has taken a dig at Kejriwal on whether appointing close "confidante" Maliwal to statutory posts was a step towards towards alternate politics.
"Kejriwal confidante Swati (Maliwal) to be appointed DCW chief. AAP to follow Cong lead to appoint partisans to statutory posts. Alternative politics?" Bhushan tweeted.
Interestingly, #Swati Maliwal was trending on social networking site Twitter, earning praise from AAP supporters and brickbats from the opposition.