Jammu and Kashmir politics witnessed major changes with the cabinet reshuffle effected by the Mehbooba Mufti government. BJP dropped 3 faces, including Dy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh who now takes up the role of the Speaker of the state Assembly.
Jammu and Kashmir politics witnessed major changes with the cabinet reshuffle effected by the Mehbooba Mufti government. BJP dropped three faces, including Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh who now takes up the role of the Speaker of the state Assembly.
While the BJP inducted five new faces in the cabinet, including Kavinder Gupta, Satpal Sharma, Rajiv Jasrotia, Devinder Kumar Manyal and Shakti Parihar, Mohd Khalil Band and Mohd Ashraf Mir are the new entrants from the PDP to find a place in the council.
Here is a brief profile of the new faces in Mehbooba Mufti Cabinet:
Kavinder Gupta – BJP
Now Deputy CM, Gupta held the Speaker`s post in the state Assembly and is a BJP legislator from Gandhinagar constituency in Jammu. In February this year, Gupta’s remarks sparked a major controversy when he cited the presence of Rohingyas as the reason behind the attack on the Army camp.
Satpal Sharma – BJP
MLA from Jammu west and president of the state unit of the BJP, Sharma is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He was unanimously elected as the state party chief in 2015.
Rajiv Jastoria – BJP
Jastoria is the MLA from Kathua that hit headlines after the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl.According to ANI, the MLA allegedly went missing few days after being questioned about the rape incident in his constituency.
Devinder Kumar Manyal – BJP
A legislator from Samba constituency, Manyal is a retired government doctor and is one of the wealthiest politicians in the state with assets worth around Rs 7 crore. He has done his MBBS from Karnataka and a diploma in orthopedics from Maharashtra.
Shakti Parihar – BJP
A BJP legislator who represents the Doda assembly seat, Parihar is seen as a party loyalist. During the J&K Upper House election last year, Parihar sparked a huge row when he cast his vote in favour of Vikram Randhawa of BJP. Parihar is believed to have ignored the government diktat to cast his vote in favour of the PDP candidate.
Mohd Khalil Bandh – PDP
A PDP leader, Khalil represents Pulwama and was the one who suffered an attack during the protests that followed Burhan Wani’s encounter.
Mohd Ashraf Mir – PDP
PDP MLA from Sonawar seat, Mir sparked controversy when he celebrated his victory over Omar Abdullah, by firing shots in the air, in 2014 elections.
Meanwhile, Sunil Sharma from BJP saw his elevation to the rank of a cabinet minister. The saffron party dropped three ministers, viz., Nirmal Singh, Bali Bhagat and Priya Sethi. Ministers Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga had to resign after they took part in a rally organised in support of Kathua rape accused.
The BJP has claimed that the reshuffle has nothing to do with Kathua incident and said that it is a normal democratic process. “Our government has completed three years and we decided to give a chance to new faces,” Ram Madhav, BJP National Secretary, said.