JAMMU: Ahead of a big-ticket ministry reshuffle in Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP sought and got all its nine party ministers to resign. The development came days after a couple of BJP ministers in the Mufti government, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, were forced to quit after they allegedly defended the accused in the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.
On Tuesday, Lal Singh was belligerent. “If two ministers can sacrifice their posts in the interest of peace, those who are actually responsible for creating such an atmosphere should listen to their conscience,” Singh said targeting Mehbooba, demanding her resignation.The state can have 25 ministers, including the chief minister. Currently, 14 portfolios are with the PDP and the rest with the BJP.
Following a clear directive from the party high command, all BJP ministers submitted their resignations to state party chief Sat Paul Sharma in the evening, insiders told The New Indian Express. The nine ministers include J&K Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh. Sources said the party leadership was not happy with the performance of some ministers and wanted them replaced with new faces to improve the BJP’s image in the sensitive state where it is in power for the first time.
Asked why the BJP took such a drastic action, a senior leader requesting anonymity said, “It was not a sudden decision. All ministers were asked to resign during a recent meeting in Jammu chaired by party general secretary Ram Madhav. The meeting discussed threadbare the functioning of the party ministers and expressed displeasure over their functioning.”
He said the Central government provides lot of money to Kashmir but unfortunately there is no work culture in the State and the funds don’t get utilised. Asked about the date of the reshuffle, the BJP leader said it was yet to be fixed. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is returning to the country tomorrow. After discussion with Central and state leaders, a date for the reshuffle could be fixed.” It’s spring cleaning. “The coalition government is safe,” he emphasised.