Jammu and Kashmir cabinet rejig: Govt brings in new faces

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Ahead of Monday's reshuffle, Nirmal Singh has inclined his resignation from the post of J&K deputy chief minister on a Sunday night.

Jasrotiya, who was a party worker before he was picked up by the central leadership to contest the last election, has been awarded the cabinet minister's rank. There are many challenges like this facing the government.

Gupta, who represents prestigious Gandhi Nagar constituency of Jammu, was among seven ministers sworn in by J&K Governor NN Vohra in Jammu on Monday morning.

Within hours of getting sworn in as the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir BJP leader Kavinder Gupta yesterday sparked a controversy after he called the incident of rape of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu's Kathua a "small incident". "We should not give Rasana so much bhaav (importance)", Gupta said. Later on Monday, however, Mr Gupta said his remarks were "misconstrued", and blamed the media for reporting his statements in the "wrong way".

BJP MLAs Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga had been asked to step down due to their participation in this very rally, spearheaded by the Hindu Ekta Manch. BJP MLA from Doda Shakti Raj in order to take oath as a minister of state.

Speaking to Times Now, Gupta said, "I didn't mean it like that". Fact of the matter is that Mehbooba Mufti failed to act when the two former Ministers in her cabinet attended the Hindu Ekta Manch rally and was forced to react after national outrage over the issue.

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Amidst brutal rape and murder case in Jammu's Kathua district triggered a series of issues, the Saffron party chose to bring major cabinet reshuffle in the J&K government. "We have to think over it so that such incidents are not repeated", he said.

The BJP's quota had dropped to nine after two of its ministers, Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, were asked to resign amid controversy over their rallying behind the accused in the alleged gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakarwal girl in Kathua district.

In a statement, the spokesperson also questioned the "sleeping conscience" of the chief minister and her party.

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, who attended the swearing-in ceremony, said changes had no connection with the Kathua case.

The State Congress spokesman slammed Gupta for his controversial remarks. "I condemn such statements by the members of ruling party", Bhagat said.