Srinagar: The J&K BJP’s leaders Sat Sharma, Ashok Kaul and Nirmal Singh are going to meet the party’s central leadership in Delhi on Tuesday to decide who could be the new faces in the state cabinet. The rejig has been occasioned by the removal of two ministers, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, who participated in the Hindu Ekta Manch’s rally in Kathua in March and became an embarrassment for the party after the chargesheet in the Kathua rape and murder case made national headlines.
After asking Singh and Ganga to resign, the BJP asked its entire cabal, including Peoples Conference leader Sajad Lone who is a minister in the BJP’s quota in the coalition government, to put in their papers. The right-wing party has nine ministers in the government but discontent within the party and its supporters has been brewing for quite some time against the “poor performance” of the BJP ministers.
The BJP is evaluating on inducting new faces in the cabinet. The BJP’s J&K unit president, Sat Sharma, is likely to be one of these faces.
“The rejig will give a fresh look and bring more vibrancy,” a BJP leader, pleading anonymity, said on Monday.
BJP’s national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna, who is looking after J&K affairs, told Kashmir Reader that a meeting with leaders of the BJP state unit would be held in Delhi on Tuesday morning. He said that the leaders who have been called to Delhi are Sat Sharma, Ashok Kaul and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.
BJP spokesperson Arun Gupta said the meeting has been called to deliberate on the planned reshuffle. He said that except for the deputy chief minister, everyone else including Lone have tendered their resignations from the cabinet to the party leadership.
“The details will be out tomorrow,” Gupta said.
Lone, the son of former Hurriyat chairman Abdul Ghani Lone who was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Srinagar in 2002, has been helming the social affairs ministry but has been demanding a change in portfolio since the day he took over.