In 2014, Kavinder Gupta (52) contested the elections for the first time and defeated Congress' Raman Bhalla. Before contesting election in 2014, he had served as the Mayor of Jammu for three terms between 2005 and 2010.
Kavinder Gupta, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Gandhinagar constituency in Jammu, was today sworn-in as the new Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir today. He replaces Nirmal Singh who had resigned on Sunday ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle which was necessitated after the BJP pushed for a major rejig in its ministerial ranks in the Mehbooba Mufti government.
Governor NN Vohra administered the oath of office and secrecy to Kavinder Gupta. The oath ceremony was held at the Convention Centre instead of the Raj Bhavan. According to The Indian Express, the decision to replace Singh with Gupta was taken at a meeting chaired by BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi. The meeting was attended by party’s general secretary and J&K in-charge Ram Madhav, party’s J&K unit chief Sat Sharma, in-charge of party for J&K unit Avinash Rai Khanna and Nirmal Singh.
Who is Kavinder Gupta?
In 2014, Kavinder Gupta (52) contested the elections for the first time and defeated Congress’ Raman Bhalla. Before contesting election in 2014, he had served as the Mayor of Jammu for three terms between 2005 and 2010, which a record in itself.
After the PDP and BJP joined hands to form a government to avoid re-election in the state, he was appointed as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on March 19, 2015. His name for the role was proposed by senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar.
Gupta’s affidavit filed with the Election Commission shows that he has a total asset of over Rs 2.4 crore and liabilities worth Rs 12 lakh in his name. He has no criminal cases filed against him.
Kavinder Gupta is considered an old BJP and RSS hand. He had joined the RSS in 1975. He was lodged at the Gurdaspur Patiala jail for 13 months during the Emergency in 1975.
In 1978, he was appointed as the secretary of Punjab unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Between 1993 and 1998, he had served as the president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha for two consecutive terms.
No stranger to controversy
Kavinder Gupta’s remark on Rohingya Muslims had in February earlier this year triggered a major controversy. He had said that the attack on army camp in Sunjwan took place due to presence of Rohingyas Muslims. His remark had invited sharp criticism from opposition leaders who accused him of targeting a particular community without evidence. He was forced by the opposition to expunge his own statement.
In 2017, he had expunged some ‘intimidating and unparliamentary’ words used inside the Assembly by a minister against an MLA of the National Conference during a heated argument. The incident had forced CM Mehbooba Mufti to apologise on the floor of the House for the remark made by her colleague.