Jammu: In a major cabinet overhaul, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta was sworn in as the new Deputy Chief Minister in the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government, replacing Nirmal Singh who is set to become the Speaker.
The Bharatiya Janata Party also inducted Satpal Sharma, its state unit chief, as a cabinet minister along with new faces Rajiv Jasrotia, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Devender Kumar Maniyal and Shakti Raj Parihar.
The oath of office and secrecy was administered by Governor N.N. Vohra at the Jammu Convention Centre.
The BJP also withdrew three ministers — Nirmal Singh, Bali Bhagat and Priya Sethi.
The BJP’s move comes after Chander Prakash Ganga and Choudhary Lal Singh resigned following their participation in a controversial rally supporting the Kathua rape and murder accused. Following their resignation, all BJP ministers resigned from the government.
The PDP also dropped its senior leader Abdul Haq Khan, the Law and Rural Development Minister, from the cabinet. Muhammad Khalil Bandh and Muhammad Ashraf Mir, MLAs from Pulwama and Srinagar, were sworn in as cabinet ministers.
As per the constitution of the state, the council of ministers in Jammu and Kashmir can only have 25 ministers including the Chief Minister.