Nirmal, Kavinder Swapping Status As BJP Finalises Its Cabinet Reshuffle

Nirmal Singh

Nirmal Singh

Jammu: In a surprise development, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh on Sunday night tendered his resignation to pave the way for Speaker Kavinder Gupta to take over the post in the PDP-BJP government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The PDP will have Mohd Khalil Band, MLA from Pulwama, and Mohd Ashraf Mir, MLA from Sonwar, as Cabinet ministers, while the BJP will upgrade Sunil Sharma, at present Minister of State for Transport, to the rank of a Cabinet minister, the officials said.

When contacted BJP's State General Secretary (Organisation) Ashol Koul told KNS "Oath taking ceremony is scheduled at 12.00 noon tomorrow after the return of Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav to Jammu tomorrow morning". In fact, it was Singh, who had told PTI last week that his government will carry out a major reshuffle in next few days. The situation changed fundamentally after two senior BJP ministers Lal Singh Choudhary and Chander Prakash Ganga resigned from their positions in wake of the high command directions in their pro-Hindu Manch role in Kathua kidnapping and murder.

The reshuffle is likely to be confined to the BJP as Mehbooba has not given her mind whether she will carry out the exercise among the ministers of her PDP.

Currently, the BJP has six cabinet ministers, including associate member Sajad Lone, and three MoS.

On Sunday, Governor NN Vohra extended a formal invitation for the event. Minor reshuffle in portfolios among the PDP ministers is also not ruled out but not immediately, sources added.

The BJP sought and received resignations of all party ministers in the council of ministers, though only two were forwarded to the chief minister.

Later, he also took a round of the premises to oversee the preparations being made for the successful conduct of the ceremony.

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