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Kavinder Gupta Takes Charge as J&K Deputy CM, Nirmal Singh Resigns

This is the first major reshuffle in the PDP-BJP government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

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Video Editor: Vishal Kumar

Former Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta was sworn in as the state’s Deputy Chief Minister on Monday, 30 April, a day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nirmal Singh tendered his resignation.

This is the first major reshuffle in the PDP-BJP government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Speaking after the reshuffle, CM Mufti welcomed the ‘new team’ and said:

A new team has come. The old team had also done good work. The new team has young and educated people and I hope they will work better.

BJP’s state unit chief Sat Sharma, MLAs from Kathua and adjoining Sambha Rajiv Jasrotia and Devinder Kumar Manyal are among the BJP faces who were inducted into the state government as Cabinet ministers.

The People’s Democratic Party (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.

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BJP MLA from Doda Shakti Raj was also sworn in as Minister of State on Monday at the oath-taking ceremony, which was attended by senior BJP leaders, including the party’s national general secretary Ram Madhav and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh.

Addressing the media after his arrival in the state, Madhav said:

The Cabinet reshuffle has nothing to do with the Kathua incident. Our government has completed three years and we decided to give a chance to new faces. Five members of the party will be sworn-in as ministers today (Monday).

The saffron party had on 17 April asked all its nine ministers in the PDP-BJP government in the state to submit their resignations to enable bringing in new faces in the two-year-old Mehbooba Mufti government.

The party, however, had not forwarded the resignations to the Governor.

Two BJP ministers - Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga - who took part in a rally in support of those accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, had to resign from the government earlier this month.

The state can have a maximum of 25 ministers, including the chief minister, out of which 14 portfolios are with the PDP and the remaining with the BJP.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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