AS Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti allotted portfolios to her ministers on Tuesday, there were murmers of dissent in the ruling camp. Independent MLA Pawan Gupta, who was not given a portfolio, Tuesday asked the Speaker to allot him a seat in the opposition benches. Sajjad Lone of People’s Conference also appeared unhappy with his new portfolio — Social Welfare, ARI and Trainings — and did not take charge of the ministry. Sources said Lone was expecting the Health and Medical portfolio.
Gupta, who was the Minister of State for Finance in the previous Mufti government from the BJP quota, attributed his exclusion to both the PDP and BJP. “While the PDP was not happy with my opposition to its ministers’ decisions for the Jammu region, BJP ministers felt threatened as I always stood for Jammu’s cause,” he said.
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The Chief Minister retained Home, Tourism, Information, Estates, Tribal Affairs, Hospitality and Protocol with herself.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh retained his portfolios of Power and Housing and Urban Department.
To focus on development of tribals, Mehbooba on Tuesday took back the Tribal Affairs portfolio a day after it was allocated to Choudhary Zulfikar Ali of the PDP.
A R Veeri, who was unhappy with his Haj and Auqaf portfolio last time, got the Public Works Department. BJP’s Lal Singh was given Forest and Chander Parkash ‘Ganga’ retained the Industries and Commerce portfolio. Haseeb Drabu was allocated Finance, Culture, Labour and Employment. Chering Dorjey was given Cooperatives.