J&K Cabinet Reshuffle: BJP MLA Who Supported Kathua Rape Accused & Was In The Rally Gets Ministerial Position
During Monday’s Jammu and Kashmir cabinet reshuffle, speaker Kavinder Gupta and seven others were sworn in as ministers in the PDP-BJP government.
BJP had earlier asked all its ministers in the state, except Nirmal Singh, to step down after two of its leaders – Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Gupta – had to resign after their support to the accused in Kathua rape case. Nirmal Singh resigned late on Sunday to make way for a “fresh face from the BJP,” reported The Wire. Gupta was sworn in as the new deputy chief minister of the state, replacing Nirmal. He is a first-time MLA but an old BJP-RSS hand, serving as Jammu major for three terms between 2005-10.
Among the others inducted was MLA Rajiv Jasrotia who was caught on camera trying to incite violence against the Bakarwal community and also tried to justify the rape and murder of the eight-year-old victim.
BJP’s general secretary Ram Madhav today denied any links between the Kathua rape and the cabinet reshuffle. “The cabinet reshuffle has nothing to do with the Kathua incident. Our government has completed three years and we decided to give a chance to new faces. 5 members of the party will be sworn-in as ministers today,” he said, reported ANI.
According to The Indian Express, BJP’s decision to revamp the J&K cabinet comes amidst reports by local BJP and RSS leaders that the party is losing its hand to PDP – which is strong in Kashmir.
The state can have a maximum of 25 ministers, including the chief minister – 14 of these portfolios belong to PDP and the remaining 11 are with the BJP.
Officials said, as reported by The Wire, BJP’s state unit chief Sat Sharma, MLAs from Kathua and adjoining Sambha Rajiv Jasrotia and Devinder Kumar Manyal are among the BJP faces who will be inducted into the state government as cabinet ministers. With the induction of Sharma in the cabinet, the BJP would now be looking for a new state president.