Politics

JK Cabinet Reshuffle: Controversial BJP members get top portfolios

Srinagar: The BJP reshuffled its part of the cabinet in Jammu and Kashmir and inducted many ‘new’ faces, including the deputy chief minister who previously held the position of the Speaker. On the very first day, the Deputy Chief Minister of the state, Kavinder Gupta said that the rape and murder of the Kathua minor is a ‘small incident’. 

Just after swearing in, Gupta while talking to the media said, “Yeh ek choti si baat hai Rasana. Is prakar ki ghatna dobara kabhi na ho, iss par humein vichar karna hai. Uss bacchi ko nyay mile, aise bahut se challenges sarkar ke samne hain. Mujhe lagta hai ki Rasana case ko hum itna bhav deke hum thik nahin kar rahe hain (Rasana is a small issue. We should think about ensuring that such incidents do not recur. Ensuring that the girl gets justice is among the challenges before the government. I feel that by giving so much importance to Rasana, we are not doing the right thing).”

National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah, after Gupta’s statement, said that nothing can be expected of a CM whose deputy calls the rape of an eight year old ‘a minor incident’.

Even the Government Spokesperson Naeem Akhtar went on to call Gupta’s statement ‘careless’ given the fact that the Prime Minister and President of India have condemned the criminal act in the strongest possible words.

“The careless comment by Deputy chief minister is in total contradiction of the statements of the Prime Minister and the President of India and the concern shown even at the international level which triggered a change in the law making this criminal act a punishable offence and the punishment to such dastardly crimes is not less than the capital punishment,” Akhtar said.

This is not for the first time Gupta had quoted controversy.

In October 2015, Gupta as the speaker of the JK Assembly, while responding to the Opposition’s accusations that he was implementing ‘RSS agenda’, he responded by saying, ” It is a matter of pride that I am an RSS member but here I am the Speaker only.”

The ‘Proud RSS man’, in February said that the attack on the Sunjawan Military Camp in Jammu took place because Rohingyas are settled nearby. 

CM Mehbooba Mufti, on the floor of the house had said that those who are trying to scrap Article 370 are ‘anti-nationals’.

One again, Gupta stirred a controversy when he agreed to a BJP member’s demand that the remarks of the CM should be expunged from the Assembly records.

However, he adjourned the house indefinitely and later said that Mehbooba had not made any ‘adverse remarks’.

For rallying in support of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case, two cabinet ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga were forced to resign. It was Sat Sharma, the President of the BJP unit of JK, who sent the two ministers to attend the rally.

Sharma, is one of the seven who was elevated to the rank of a cabinet minister in the reshuffle.

Among the attendees of the rally was the MLA of Kathua Rajiv Jasrotia. While Ganga and Singh were made to resign for attending the rally organized by the Hindu Ekta Manch, Jasrotia was awarded a cabinet berth.

Rajiv Jasrotia

Co-incidentally, Jasrotia has been given the charge of the Forest Ministry, the portfolio held by Lal Singh amid accusations that the BJP is trying to evict the Muslim nomad population from the area.

The lawyer of the accused Ankur Sharma, recently accused Mehbooba Mufti of being a ‘Jehadi CM’.

In a speech last month, the lawyer had also accused her of  spearheading ‘an Islamo-fascist communal agenda for demographic change in Jammu’s Hindu-dominated areas and called for social and economic boycott of Gujjars and Bakerwals. 

The promotion of Jasrotia promoted Opposition leader Omar Abdullah to question the ‘confusing’ stand of the BJP and PDP on the Kathua case.

The National Conference in a statement, while condemning the elevation of Jasrotia said that the shocking development had yet again exposed the inherent sadism and opportunism of the PDP-BJP Alliance as also the hypocrisy and complete surrender on part of the Chief Minister.

There were reports that Mehbooba’s former deputy Nirmal Singh was replaced  because he supported her in the Kathua rape and murder case. However, BJP National Secretary Ram Madhav said that the reshuffle had nothing to do with the Kathua incident.


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