Suspense prevails over reshuffle in J&K BJP, Dy CM dashes to Delhi

Kavinder Gupta

BJP's Nirmal Singh resigns as Jammu and Kashmir deputy CM ahead of cabinet rejig

Former BJP ministers Choduhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga had tendered their resignations, which was later accepted by Governor Vohra, after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asked for it over their alleged participation in the rally organised by "Hindu Ekta Manch" in Kathua rape-murder case.

Its coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to induct some new faces and also withdraw some of its ministers from the council of ministers. The party, however, had not forwarded their resignations to the Governor.

In a surprising development, Jammu and Kashmir's deputy chief minister and a BJP leader, Nirmal Singh, has resigned.

Priya Sethi is being dropped.

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"A fresh face from the BJP will be taking over".

The outgoing speaker, while talking to STATE TIMES, confirmed his induction as Deputy Chief Minister.

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.

In the 89-member (including two nominated) house, PDP has 28 berths and BJP 25.

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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.

It is not immediately known if the PDP is inducting any new face or changing the portfolios within its fold.

The oath-taking ceremony is scheduled for 12 noon in Jammu's Conventional Centre. The event will take place at the Convention Centre and not at teh Raj Bhavan as all government offices are closed, in view of the six-month sojourn in Srinagar, the state's summer capital, IANS reported.

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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