SRINAGAR: Ravinder Raina was appointed the new Jammu and Kashmir BJP president by party chief Amit Shah on Sunday. The firebrand MLA from Nowshera will replace Sat Paul Sharma, who was inducted into the state Cabinet last month. Raina, a staunch RSS loyalist, had taken oath as a legislator in 2015 in the name of ‘Mata Vaishno Devi’.
The Protem Speaker had intervened and asked him to take the oath in the name of God. The appointment of Raina, who is anti-separatist and anti- Pakistan, is seen as BJP’s bid to regain the lost ground in Jammu, especially after the Kathua rape and murder case. “He is a young and firebrand leader and can bring new energy and ideas to revive the party in Jammu,” said a BJP leader.
Raina, who had played a key role in the Kashmir blockade during the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation, had assaulted independent MLA from Kashmir, Sheikh Abdur Engineer Rashid, inside the Legislative Assembly in 2015 for hosting a “beef party” at the state MLAs’ hostel. A BJP leader said Raina has been a pracharak of RSS.