Kathua: BJP ministers, who supported accused, resign

As the nationwide outrage against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomad girl got shriller, two BJP ministers in Jammu and Kashmir - Choudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga - on Friday submitted their resignations.

Singh served as the minister for forest in the BJP-PDP government in the state, while Ganga held the ministry for commerce and industries. The two ministers had on March 1 participated in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch, a fringe right-wing group, to support the accused in the case.

"Both have submitted their resignations to state party president Sat Sharma," said BJP's state chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi. He said it is now the party's call to take a decision on them.

"They (ministers) have done it to save the party from the adverse publicity in the media about them supporting the Hindu Ekta Manch, which has been demanding to shift the investigation into the case from state's Crime Branch to CBI," he said.

As reports emerged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could break alliance with the BJP if the two ministers didn't resign, the BJP top brass had to act, sources said.

However, the fate of the PDP-BJP alliance in the state, which is already on shaky ground, is still not clear as Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is scheduled to hold a high-level meeting on Saturday to decide the future of the alliance, they said.

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