New Delhi: Hours before the major cabinet reshuffle in the Jammu and Kashmir government, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh announced that he has resigned from the post, paving way for Speaker Kavinder Gupta.
Singh said, "I have resigned as the Deputy Chief Minsiter of the government. A fresh face from the BJP will be taking over."
Speculation was rife that among the 12-13 new BJP legislators who will be inducted in the PDP-BJP coalition government, there will be several new faces. The two ministerial berths vacated by the BJP ministers who quit in the aftermath of the Kathua rape and murder case will also be taken up by new BJP ministers on Monday.
Apart from Gupta's appointment as the new Deputy CM, MLAs Mohd Khalil Band, Sat Paul Sharma, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Rajiv Jasrotia, Devinder Kumar Manyal and Shakti Raj would also be inducted as Ministers of State in the reshuffle on Monday.
All BJP ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government had resigned last week to pave way for a reshuffle in the Mehbooba Mufti-led government.
J&K Governor NN Vohra will administer the oath of office and secrecy to those being inducted into the council of ministers at the convention centre at noon on Monday, an invitation for the ceremony read.
Officials said the function is being held at the convention centre instead of Raj Bhavan as Jammu and Kashmir government has already shifted its base to summer capital Srinagar as part of the bi-annual 'darbar move', under which the government functions six months each in the twin capital cities.
The Civil Secretariat, the seat of Jammu and Kashmir government, and Raj Bhavan closed here on Friday and will reopen along with other move offices in Srinagar on May 7.