J&K Deputy CM Nirmal Singh resigns

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Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh has resigned ahead of Monday's reshuffle of the state cabinet, according to several media reports.

Seen as a desperate bid to have an image makeover in the wake of growing mistrust in its core constituency of the Jammu region, BJP has pushed five new faces for inclusion in ministry in the eagerly awaited rejig taking place today.

This is believed to be a part of pre-planned cabinet reshuffle. The ceremony has been shifted to this venue because the durbar has closed and shifted to Srinagar.

Authoritative sources told KNS that Speaker Assembly Kavinder Gupta is most likely to take oath as Deputy Chief Minister in place of Nirmal Singh who resigned from the council of ministers late Sunday evening. Sunil Sharma is being elevated.

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The saffron party had on April 17 asked all its nine ministers in the PDP-BJP government in the state to submit their resignations to enable bringing in new faces in the two-year-old Mehbooba Mufti cabinet. Additional charge of his portfolio has been given to education minister Altaf Bukhari but holding charge of two major departments by a single minister was causing problems in both departments that require full-time ministers.

It was not immediately known whether the PDP will also fill up the vacancy created by the sacking of Haseeb Drabu as the finance minister last month.

On April 24, senior leaders, including Dr Singh, Party President Sat Sharma and General Secretary Ashok Koul returned without meeting Mr Shah, due to his busy schedules in Karnataka elections. "The final list of those cleared for induction by the party high command will be forwarded to Governor N N Vohra tomorrow morning".

Later, he also took a round of the premises to oversee the preparations being made for the successful conduct of the ceremony.

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