Srinagar: Ministers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in J&K’s coalition government will stay, at least till March 2018, to gain “ministerial experience” that could be useful for the party in the state’s future politics. This decision was taken after party leaders agreed that the ministers must have experience of at least three years, which will come handy if the BJP forms or is part of future governments in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, the party was mulling to introduce new faces in the government by showing door to a few ministers.
“The party has decided that the ministers will not be replaced now,” BJP leader and Member of Legislative Council Mohammad Yousuf Sofi said. “If the party has to be in politics in the state for times to come, it will need experienced ministers in the future. So the party has decided that it will not replace its council of ministers till March 2018. We want our ministers to complete three years in office, after which it will be decided whether to change them or not.”
Sofi also ruled out that the BJP was under pressure to replace the ministers because they were not performing well.
“This is a wrong notion. Our ministers are working well. They have no corruption charges against them. They are taking forward the agenda of peace and prosperity in the state as envisioned by Prime Minister Modi and the BJP,” Sofi said.
The BJP ministers, though, are yet to return to their Srinagar offices. They are missing from office ever since they went to Delhi to attend the party’s national executive meet in the fourth week of September.
After Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh came to J&K and met with complaints that the BJP ministers were not performing well, there was much talk within the BJP state unit that all the five ministers will be soon shown the door. Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta, and state unit president Sat Sharma were expected to make their entry in the cabinet, as were two new faces – Ajay Bharti and Rajiv Jasrotia. They will have to wait for their turn, for now.
“The BJP could not decide who will replace the party’s council of ministers. There were no impressive faces who could have led the party from the front. So the party decided to continue with the present arrangement,” a BJP leader told Kashmir Reader. “In addition, Lal Singh (forest minister) has crossed over from the Congress party. The party does not think it will be a wise move to remove him as a minister. It may discourage others from joining the BJP.”