Former Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta and BJP state president Sat Sharma were among eight MLAs sworn-in into the coalition council of ministers led by chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu on Monday.
Kavinder, an old BJP and RSS hand representing Gandhi Nagar assembly constituency will be the new Deputy Chief Minister in the BJP-PDP coalition government in the state. He replaces Dr Nirmal Singh who announced his resignation on Sunday. Singh has now been made the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in place of the former.
“Party gave me the responsibility to bring in change after three years. I’ll try my best to meet expectations of people and work for Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh. We had entered into an alliance, following people’s mandate. I hope it keeps working for them,” Kavinder Gupta said before the oath ceremony, reported ANI. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the convention centre instead of Raj Bhavan as the government has already shut down its offices in Jammu and shifted its base to summer capital Srinagar.
Governor N N Vohra also administered the oath of office and secrecy to BJP ministers Sat Sharma, D K Manyal, Sunil Sharma. Rajiv Jasrotia and Shakti Parihar from the saffron party were also elevated to the cabinet rank. PDP’s Mohd Ashraf Mir and Mohammad Khalil Band were also inducted into the cabinet.
With this, both the PDP and BJP have exhausted their total quota of 25 berths in the council of ministers. Of them, PDP has 12 cabinet and two MOS, while BJP has nine cabinet and two MOS.