Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh resigned from the Cabinet on Sunday. The move comes a day before a Cabinet reshuffle.
“A fresh face from the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] will be taking over,” said Singh after he reportedly met party president Amit Shah in New Delhi.
State Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta will be the new deputy chief minister, an unidentified party leader told PTI. He is a first-time MLA, and has served as Jammu mayor for three terms between 2005 and 2010, reported The Indian Express.
The BJP will also fill up the two vacancies created because ministers Chander Prakash Ganga and Chaudhary Lal Singh had resigned from the Cabinet after their participation in a rally in support of an accused in the Kathua case sparked outrage.
On April 17, the BJP asked all its nine ministers in the government to submit their resignations. The party, however, did not forward the resignations to the governor. Currently, the BJP has six Cabinet ministers and three minister of state in the Jammu and Kashmir government.
The Cabinet reshuffle comes after days of strain in the BJP’s ties with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party. Tourism Minister Tassaduq Mufti, who is also the chief minister’s brother, had said that the Peoples Democratic Party had become a “partner in crime” with the BJP. He warned that the PDP may have to “take one last bow” if the BJP-led central government does not act on its commitments to the state. However, the chief minister has claimed that the alliance is steady.