Jammu and Kashmir cabinet rejig: Govt brings in new faces

VIVEK SHARMA

VIVEK SHARMA

Jammu: 58-year-old Kavinder Gupta, until now the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, took charge as Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday. After being sworn in as the deputy chief minister yesterday, Gupta had said the Kathua case was a "minor incident".

The portfolios allocated to the new BJP Ministers include Industries and Transport to Kavinder Gupta, Housing and Urban Development to Sat Paul Sharma, Forest and Environment to Rajeev Jasrotia, Health and Medical Education to D.K. Manyal and Power Development Department to Sunil Sharma.

Around 8 ministers were introducing into the cabinet on Monday, of which 7 people were the new candidate.

The BJP dropped Nirmal Singh from the Deputy CM's position but he is likely to be the new Speaker of the state assembly. This shows that the BJP have completely ignored the sentiment in the country over the Kathua rape, 'she said. "It shouldn't have been given all this hype", Gupta said. "We should not give Rasana so much importance". We should think about ensuring that such incidents do not repeat in future. There are many challenges before the government (and it was one of them).

"Prime Minister was pained over the incident but DyCM has disappointed the people through his statement", he said.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav also said that the reshuffle had nothing to do with the Kathua rape and murder case. "As (Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga) were ministers, their own own party took cognisance of the matter", Mir said.

Later on Monday, however, Mr Gupta claimed his remarks were "misconstrued", and blamed the media for reporting his statements in the "wrong way". The duo had served as ministers in the PDP-BJP combine earlier when PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was chief minister.

As per the constitution of the state, the council of ministers in Jammu and Kashmir can only have 25 ministers including the Chief Minister. The PDP had only one vacancy following the unceremonious ouster of finance minister Haseeb Drabu in March this year.

Singh told ThePrint that only the party leadership can answer why Jasrotia was inducted into the cabinet whereas he was asked to resign. Kavinder took oath in the presence of Governor N N Vohra. The ceremony took place at the convention centre, since the Raj Bhavan has closed off offices in Jammu and set up in Srinagar.

Opposition National Conference working president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah hit out at the coalition government.

"Two BJP ministers removed in J&K for attending a pro-rapist rally and an MLA who is reported to have attended the same rally is promoted as a minister".

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