The Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet on Monday saw a major reshuffle and we have Eight Ministers took oath, seven in Cabinet rank and one as the Minister of State. Here are the 10 things you must know about the cabinet which might prove detrimental or decisive to Jammu & Kashmir’s future:
- PDP-BJP Government carried out its one of the major reshuffle in the Council of Ministry, filling up all 25 vacancies while the coalition partners increased strength of the Cabinet Ministers to 21 as against previous 19, leaving only four Ministers in the MoS rank.
- Several bigwigs got berth in the Cabinet including Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta, State BJP chief Sat Sharma `CA’ and PDP’s Mohammad Ashraf Mir, who had defeated then Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah in Sonwar Assembly segment of Srinagar district in 2014 elections.
- Governor N N Vohra administered oath of office and secrecy to eight Ministers in the jam-packed Jammu Convention Centre, which was chosen as the venue due to closure of Raj Bhavan offices in view of bi-annual Durbar move. Oath ceremony lasted just 19 minutes.
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- Five BJP Ministers took oath as Cabinet Ministers. They included Kavinder Gupta, MLA Gandhi Nagar, Sat Sharma `CA’, MLA Jammu City West, Sunil Sharma, MLA Kishtwar, Dr Devender Manyal, MLA Samba and Rajiv Jasrotia, MLA Kathua. BJP MLA from Doda, Shakti Raj Parihar took oath as the Minister of State.
- Two PDP Ministers including Mohammad Khalil Band, MLA Pulwama and Mohammad Ashraf Mir, MLA Sonwar, took oath as Cabinet Ministers. Band had earlier served as Minister of State in PDP-Congress coalition Government while Ashraf Mir was also Minister of State in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP-BJP coalition from March 2015 to January 2016.
- PDP now has 14 Ministers including the Chief Minister and BJP 11 including Sajjad Ghani Lone of People’s Conference.
- At the time of formation of first-ever PDP-BJP Government, PDP had 11 Cabinet Ministers and three Ministers of State while BJP had eight Cabinet Ministers and three Ministers of State. Both the parties have now increased their strength in the Cabinet by one Minister each and lowered number of MoS from three to two each.
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- PDP’s strength in the Cabinet stood at 12 and BJP’s nine. There is no vacancy now left in the Council of Ministry headed by Mehbooba Mufti.
- With expansion, seven out of 10 districts in Jammu region have got representation in the Ministry. While Jammu district has highest number of three Cabinet Ministers including Kavinder Gupta, Sat Sharma `CA’ and Sham Choudhary, Kishtwar, Samba, Kathua and Rajouri districts have one Cabinet Minister each from BJP including Sunil Sharma, Dr Devender Manyal, Rajiv Jasrotia, and Abdul Ghani Kohli. Reasi and Doda districts have one Minister of State each including Ajay Nanda and Shakti Raj Parihar.
- This was third reshuffle of Mehbooba Mufti Ministry, which had been sworn-in on April 4, 2016 after the sudden demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. In the first reshuffle on February 17, 2017, Mehbooba had re-inducted Syed Altaf Ahmad Bukhari as the Cabinet Minister and assigned him the charge of Education Ministry. On December 28, 2017, Mehbooba had inducted her brother Tassaduq Mufti and re-inducted Javid Mustafa Mir as the Cabinet Ministers and entrusted them with the charge of Tourism, Relief, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management Ministries respectively.
As a student of Class XI, newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister of J&K, Kavinder Bhushan Gupta, had spent 13 months in Patiala jail with political stalwarts, like former Prime Minister Chander Shekhar, Akali leaders Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Jeevan Singh Umarnangal and BJP leader Babu Hit Abhilashi, during the Emergency. “I was a student of Class XI, when the Emergency was imposed in 1975. As an RSS worker, I was picked up from Gurdaspur where my father was serving. From Gurdaspur, I was shifted to Patiala jail where political stalwarts of the country were already lodged,” he said.