Srinagar: The coming Karnataka polls have prompted the BJP to put on hold the reshuffle of its ministers in the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir. BJP’s J&K unit president Sat Sharma, general secretary Ashok Kaul, and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who had gone to Delhi to meet the saffron party’s top brass including Amit Shah, have returned to Jammu after being told that Shah was not available for a meeting.
BJP national president Amit Shah is camping in Karnataka, which is going for polls on May 12. The BJP is making every effort to boost its poll prospects by pitching its top campaigners including Narendra Modi in Karnataka for the election campaign.
Shah is, thus, rather busy and the reshuffle would happen after he returns to New Delhi, said Kaul. “He will decide about it after April 27, which is the last date for nomination withdrawal there (Karnataka),” Kaul told Kashmir Reader on Wednesday.
The reshuffle in the BJP’s quota in the government was prompted by the resignation of two ministers – Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga – after media outrage over their participation in the Hindu Ekta Manch’s rally in Kathua. Later, all BJP ministers including People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, who is a minister in the BJP quota, were told to put in their papers for inclusion of new faces in the government ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.
A source in the BJP said that the party had planned to hold the swearing-in for its new ministers by this month end. That is now likely to be delayed, he said.
BJP national vice-president and Kashmir affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna told Kashmir Reader that the reshuffle would happen but for the time being it has been postponed. The delay would not have any impact on the incumbent BJP ministers, as they would continue to hold their portfolios till the reshuffle, he said.
“The BJP ministers have submitted their resignations to the BJP president, so it would have no impact on the government,” Kaul said, adding that Shah has a list of names for the reshuffle and he would decide about who will fill the two portfolios that Singh and Ganga had vacated.
Lal Singh was heading the Forests, Ecology and Environment ministry and Ganga the Industries and Commerce ministry. Currently, these portfolios are held by Nirmal Singh, in addition to his Power and Urban Development ministry.