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BJP MLA, Who Attended Pro-Rapist Rally in Kathua, Made Minister in J&K Cabinet Reshuffle

The former deputy Chief Minister of the state Nirmal Singh was replaced by former speaker of the state Assembly Kavinder Gupta, who is said to enjoy close proximity to senior RSS leaders, owing to a lot of complaints about Singh's style of functioning.

Suhas Munshi | News18.com

Updated:April 30, 2018, 4:46 PM IST
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BJP MLA, Who Attended Pro-Rapist Rally in Kathua, Made Minister in J&K Cabinet Reshuffle
A protest organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua. (Twitter)
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New Delhi: A mid-term reshuffle of the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet, expedited by the outrage over Kathua, was carried out in Jammu on Monday.

In all, eight ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by the governor NN Vohra in Jammu.

Sources, both in PDP and BJP, described the cabinet reshuffle as a ‘mid-term course correction’ as some unpopular figures within both the parties, against whom several complaints of various natures were lodged, were replaced by more popular faces.

One of the few notable entries in the cabinet was of BJP’s MLA from Kathua – Rajiv Jasrotia – who went “missing” earlier this month following the huge public outrage over the gang-rape and murder of eight year old Bakarwal girl. Jasrotia allegedly attended the rally supporting the Kathua accused.

His representation is being looked at as a signal to core BJP voters and party cadre, who were resentful after the party high command forced ministers Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga to resign for participating in a rally in support of the rape-accused in the Kathua case, that the party still stands by them.

It was right after a meeting held with the state BJP chief Sat Sharma on April 17 that all BJP cabinet members offered their resignation. Sources say, that Sharma was inducted in the state cabinet because his tenure of the party chief ends in December.
The party, dissatisfied with his leadership, is reportedly looking for a new face to lead it in 2019.

A senior party leader Ashok Kaul is one of the alternatives being considered for the top job, sources say.

BJP president, Amit Shah, then held a meeting with the state high command, including Sat Sharma, Nirmal Singh and Ashok Kaul in Delhi on April 24 to work out the new cabinet portfolios.

The former deputy Chief Minister of the state Nirmal Singh was replaced by former speaker of the state Assembly Kavinder Gupta, who is said to enjoy close proximity to senior RSS leaders, owing to a lot of complaints about Singh's style of functioning.

Sources say, ministers in both BJP and PDP were dropped owing to severe public resentment against them. In the run up to the 2019 general polls, both the parties are trying to shed some of the dead weight which the two parties seem to have acquired, owing to allegations of corruption in case of BJP in Jammu, and growing violence in the valley in case of PDP in the valley.

PDP decided to replace two ministers – law minister Abdul Haq Khan and Bali Baghat – and inducted two fresh faces from Sonwar and Pulwama constituencies apparently in a bid to provide representation to two most volatile constituencies in the valley right now and assuage the public anger.
| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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