Cabinet reshuffle: J&K BJP ministers resign to pave way

Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI Photo

Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling coalition partner BJP on Tuesday evening asked all its ministers to resign from the cabinet of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to pave way for a reshuffle.

Sources said while there was no threat to PDP-BJP alliance in the state, the resignation will allow the saffron party to induct fresh faces in the wake of the ouster of two of its ministers last week, who had participated in a rally organized to support the accused in the horrific gangrape-and-murder of Kathua victim.

“The BJP ministers have submitted their resignations to the State Party Chief Sat Sharma in Jammu. The decision was taken after a secret meeting of the senior party leaders, chaired by Avinash Rai Khanna at the party headquarters, earlier in the day (Tuesday),” they said.

A senior BJP leader while confirming the development to DH said, “There is no threat to the government but resignation is being made to pave way for the reshuffle.”

Last month Mehbooba Mufti sacked senior PDP leader and Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu over his controversial remarks on Kashmir. Drabu, the PDP’s pointsman, had worked out the draft of the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ the BJP after 2014 elections threw a fractured mandate in the volatile state.

While PDP at present has 11 cabinet ministers in the alliance government, the BJP after the resignation of two ministers has only six left. The PDP has two ministers of state while the BJP has three. To ensure balance in the cabinet, the BJP was likely to upgrade one of its MoS as the cabinet minister, sources said while two new faces will be inducted.

They said the reshuffle is likely to take place on April 20. The state can have a maximum of 25 ministers, including the chief minister, out of which 14 portfolios are with the PDP and the remaining with the BJP according to the agreement reached between the two parties.

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