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Jammu and Kashmir cabinet reshuffle today, Kavinder Gupta to replace Nirmal Singh as deputy CM

Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh, who was axed in a late night development on Sunday,was considered very close to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2018 10:12 IST
Ravi Khajuria
Ravi Khajuria
Jammu, Hindustan Times
Jammu and Kashmir cabinet reshuffle,Nirmal Singh,Deputy chief minister
File photo of Kavinder Gupta, the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to induct five new faces in the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet on Monday including Speaker Kavinder Gupta who will replace deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh who resigned on Sunday after he reportedly met BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Singh, who was axed in a late night development on Sunday, was considered very close to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

“I resigned to pave the way for a new face,” Singh said.

Apart from Gupta, an old loyalist of the BJP and an RSS activist, BJP is likely to induct four new faces into the cabinet including state party president Sat Sharma, party MLAs Rajiv Jasrotia, Devinder Kumar Manyal and Shakti Raj, party sources said.

Jammu and Kashmir 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 12 noon.

The cabinet rejig was long overdue.

Sunil Kumar Sharma presently MoS is likely to be made cabinet minister.

Official sources said that PDP may also induct its MLA Mohammed Khalil Bandh as a minister. The name of Mohammed Ashraf Mir is also doing rounds.

The BJP had won record 25 assembly seats in 2014 elections from Jammu region comprising 10 districts.

However, the BJP’s ties with ally PDP have come under strain over a range of issues lately including the Kathua gang rape and murder of a minor girl and the party’s perceived ‘surrender’ to the PDP on matters relating to Jammu region.

Two cabinet ministers -- Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga -- had to resign recently following their presence in a rally of the Hindu Ekta Manch in Hiranagar in March to demand a CBI inquiry into the Kathua case.

Earlier this month, the BJP had asked all its nine ministers in the ruling coalition with the Peoples Democratic Party to submit their resignations. The diktat was to enable bringing in new faces in the three-year-old Mehbooba Mufti cabinet. But the party had not forwarded the resignations to the Governor.

The state can have a maximum of 25 ministers, including the chief minister, out of which 14 portfolios are with the PDP and the remaining with the BJP.

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 10:12 IST