An old BJP hand who spent about 13 months in jail during the Emergency, new Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta has his roots in the RSS, which he joined at a young age of 13. Gupta, a graduate, replaced Nirmal Singh, who submitted his resignation last night.
The new deputy CM, who maintains a low profile, is by no way an outsider to J&K politics. The 59-year-old served as the mayor of Jammu for three terms, consecutively from 2005 to 2010, which is a record. He has also been a general secretary of the BJP’s state unit. In 2014, he was elected as an MLA for the first time from the Gandhi Nagar seat where he defeated sitting Congress minister Raman Bhalla. Following the PDP-BJP’s assembly election win in 2014, Gupta was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the House.
Gupta will have a lot on his plate in his post as J&K deputy CM. Firstly, he has to tackle the growing unrest over the Kathua gang rape and murder case. Secondly, he will have to arrest the growing rift between the PDP and BJP members in the state.
Immediately after taking the oath, Gupta, dressed in a kurta-pyjama and an ‘achkan’, said his priority would be to ensure that the three regions of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh got justice and equal development. “The party have given me the task. I will work dedicatedly for the people and the state and ensure that demands and aspirations of people are fulfilled,” PTI quoted Gupta as saying.
Born on December 2nd, 1959, Gupta has three children, including two daughters. During his younger days, Gupta was secretary of the Punjab Vishav Hindu Parishad in 1978-79. He also headed the J&K unit of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha for two consecutive terms from 1993 till 1998.