Nirmal, Kavinder Swapping Status As BJP Finalises Its Cabinet Reshuffle

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SRINAGAR: For slightly less than half of the six-year term, the BJP has finally drafted its list to be inducted in the cabinet of Mehbooba Mufti. Some people are being dropped and the key position is being replaced, reports appearing in the media said.

The reshuffle was due early 2018 but was delayed for some unknown reasons. The situation changed fundamentally after two senior BJP ministers Lal Singh Choudhary and Chander Prakash Ganga resigned from their positions in wake of the high command directions in their pro-Hindu Manch role in Kathua kidnapping and murder. All the BJP ministers had given their resignations to the party high command to enable the party to decide the new team. The party had not forwarded the resignations to the governor.

Dr Nirmal Singh, the Deputy Chief Minister is swapping his position with the Speaker of state assembly Kavinder Gupta.

Priya Sethi is being dropped.

Five new faces are being inducted from BJP quota: Rajiv Jasrotia, D K Manyal, Sat Pal Sharma and Shakti Raj. Sunil Sharma is being elevated.   Shakti Raj’s will be the junior minister, the minister of state.

In the 89-member (including two nominated) house, PDP has 28 berths and BJP 25.

Right now the BJP has six cabinet ministers, including associate member Sajad Lone and three ministers of state. PDP has 14 portfolios even after it sacked finance minister Haseeb Drabu in March. J&K law does not permit more than 25 ministers including the chief minister.

It is not immediately known if the PDP is inducting any new face or changing the portfolios within its fold. Reports suggest that Mohammad Khalil Band and Mohammad Ashraf Mir are being inducted as cabinet ministers. This means eight ministers including six from BJP and two from PDP would take oath of office on Monday.

The oath-taking ceremony is scheduled for 12 noon in Jammu’s Conventional Centre. The ceremony has been shifted to this venue because the durbar has closed and shifted to Srinagar. Normally, the oath-taking ceremonies take place at Raj Bhawan.

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