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J&K cabinet reshuffle: Kavinder Gupta to be sworn in as the new deputy CM
In a move of cabinet reshuffle which was long overdue, Kavinder Gupta, who currently holds the post of speaker of J&K Assembly will be sworn is as the new deputy CM of the state on Monday.

"Party gave me 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 alliance, following people's mandate. I hope it keeps working for them," Gupta was quoted by ANI as saying.

Gupta has replaced Nirmal Singh, who resigned ahead of the cabinet reshuffle on Sunday after meeting BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi. Singh was considered to be very close to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Kavinder Gupta is a Member Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Gandhi Nagar constituency of Jammu district.

Fifty-five-year-old Gupta had sparked a controversy in February this year after the attack on an army camp at Sunjwan in Jammu, by saying that the presence of Rohingya refugees in the area was the reason behind the attack.

However, his remarks did not go down with the opposition, who accused him of targetting a particular community “without evidence”. The opposition stormed the Well of the House, demanding an immediate apology from Gupta for his remarks.

Apart from Gupta, the BJP is likely to induct four more new faces in the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet including state party president Sat Sharma, BJP MLAs Rajiv Jasrota, Shakti Raj and Devinder Kumar Manyal, party sources have informed.

J&K Governor NN Vohra will administer oath of office and secrecy to the newly appointed cabinet members at the convention centre at 12 noon.

According to official sources, the PDP is likely to induct party MLA Mohammed Khalil Bandh, though the name of Mohammed Ashraf Mir has also been doing rounds.

In the 2014 Assembly elections the BJP had won a record 25 seats in the Hindu majority Jammu region of the state which comprises of 10 districts.

However, recent developments especially the Kathua gang rape incident has led to straining of relations between the PDP and the BJP. Two BJP cabinet ministers namely Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga had to resign after they were spotted at a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in Harinagar in March this year, in support of the perpetrators of the heinous gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl which took place in January in Kathua district.

The state can have a maximum of 25 ministers including the chief minister. While the PDP holds 14 portfolios, the remaining 11 are with the BJP.

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