Dropped this time, former Minister to sit in opposition

Jammu: Independent MLA from Udhampur, Pawan Gupta, who failed to secure a berth in the Mehbooba Mufti government yesterday, has decided to sit in opposition.

Gupta, who was minister of state for Finance in the previous dispensation led by Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had won the Udhampur Assembly seat as an Independent candidate after he was denied ticket by the BJP. He was inducted in the ministry from BJP quota.

“Now that the BJP leadership has decided not to include me in the council of ministers, I will sit on the opposition benches and play a constructive role in the opposition,” Gupta told PTI.

Accusing BJP of “deceit”, he said its top leadership including party’s national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna and general secretary Ram Madhav were instrumental in his inclusion in the council of ministers last time so that they could use his vote for BJP’s Rajya Sabha candidates.

“These two leaders literally begged me to vote for their Rajya Sabha candidates. Now that they don’t need any such vote, they have decided to keep me out,” he said.

Gupta, whose father was among the founding members of Praja Parishad, Jan Sangh and later BJP, had the distinction of being the only BJP member to have got elected as an MLA for four consecutive terms.

“I supported BJP not because of any greed but because supporting the party was there in my DNA as my father had served the party throughout his life,” he said.

He charged the BJP with surrendering its core ideology for the sake of power in Jammu and Kashmir, adding, the party has lost its ground in the Jammu region.

“BJP cheated the people as it surrendered its main poll plank for the sake of power,” Gupta said.

“Be it the issue of levying service tax on the helicopter service or the issue of Hindu Chief Minister, BJP has totally failed.

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