JAMMU, APR 30:
No coalition is easy and there are bound to be ‘hiccups’, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said today as he expressed confidence that his party and ally PDP would be able to deliver on the promises made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP leader also asserted that there was no question of a lenient approach being adopted towards those trying to obstruct security forces during operations.
During an interaction here, Madhav was asked by journalists about reports of a rift between J&K ruling alliance partners, PDP and BJP, over various issues.
“All is not well between the two parties is something I have been hearing for the last three years. No coalition is easy, we are in
coalition and working together to try to address the issues of the state. There will be hiccups but our party and our leaders are competent to handle those issues and we are confident that together we will be able to deliver on all those promises made in the common minimum programme or agenda of governance, Madhav said on a day eight new ministers took oath in J&K.
Asked about PDP leader Mohammad Khalil Band’s comments seeking a dialogue between India and Pakistan, shortly after he took oath as a minister, Madhav said this is what the chief minister is saying”.
“We have always maintained that there will be a view of the people but the decision on the issue (talks) will be taken by the Centre after taking a comprehensive overview of the situation. Let them have their views, he said.
To a question suggesting that the BJP had surrendered before Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on key issues including amnesty to those involved in stone-pelting, Madhav said there could be no lenience towards those trying to obstruct the security forces.
There will be no leniency towards those who try to obstruct security forces from performing in the valley. Nobody has surrendered We are acting very tough against all forms of terror whether it is on the streets, using stone-pelting as a means or in the forests using guns. We will tackle them in an appropriate manner, Madhav replied.
He said terrorists with guns and stone-pelters could not be dealt with in the same way.
With guns you have to deal with guns differently and stone pelters differently. As far as amnesty is concerned, the first time offenders were given amnesty by the state government in consultation with the home ministry. Otherwise there is no question of any lenience with those who try or obstruct the duty of our security forces, he said.
Nirmal Singh, who resigned from the post of Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief Minister, will be the new Speaker of the state Assembly, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said today.
On a day eight ministers joined Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s council of ministers, Madhav said a reshuffle had been planned as the government had completed three years and it was felt more legislators should be given the experience of being in the state Cabinet.
“Dr Nirmal Singh ji will be the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly,” Madhav said at a press conference here after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly inducted ministers.
Ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle, Singh had last night tendered his resignation to pave the way for state Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta to take over the post. The resignation was accepted by the governor.
With Singh now set to become the Assembly Speaker, the two senior BJP leaders have exchanged places during the reshuffle.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav today asserted that the reshuffle in the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet had nothing to do with the Kathua rape and murder case and it was planned when the alliance with the PDP was stitched three years ago.
He termed the reshuffle a “normal exercise” and said that on reviewing the situation a decision was taken to give opportunity to five more MLAs to understand governance.
He, however, dodged questions over the inclusion of Rajiv Jasrotia, an MLA from Kathua, who had participated in a rally there after the killing of the eight-year-old girl from the Muslim Bakerwal community.
Two BJP ministers, Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash, had to quit early this month after a row over their participation in the event.
“This has nothing to do with it (Kathua rape and murder case). Our government has completed three years in power so we decided to have a reshuffle in the Cabinet and give an opportunity to new faces,” Madav told reporters at the BJP headquarters here.
On a tweet by National Conference working president Omar Abdullah questioning the inclusion of Jasrotia, he said, Twitter is a free medium and let them say what they want to say. I have answered the question.”
Shortly after Jasrotia had taken oath as a minister, Abdullah asked, Two BJP ministers removed in J-K for attending a pro-rapist rally and an MLA who is reported to have attended the same rally is promoted as a minister.”
“Why are the BJP/Mehbooba Mufti confused about where they stand on the #Kathua rape,” he asked.
Madhav also faced a volley of questions over the demands for a CBI inquiry in the case, especially from Lal Singh. The BJP leader said the BJP’s stand was that the case was before the court and its decision would be respected.
Asked why the party was not taking action against Singh for anti-party activities and provoking people , he said, The demand (CBI probe) was raised by various sections of the society, including the bar council here. Are you saying they are all provoking the people?”
The same issue is before the Supreme Court so it is not something that only one person (Lal Singh) is raising… Let the court take a view and afterwards, if anyone persists with the demand, then we will take a stand on that person’s demand, he said.
On dropping of the only woman BJP minister — Priya Sethi– from the Cabinet, he said, We did not have any woman MLA in the 25 members who got elected to the legislature from Jammu region. ”
Because we wanted to give importance to women in the Cabinet we decided to nominate one of our senior leaders to the assembly and made her a minister for three years. So you don’t have to question our commitment towards empowering women, he said.
He said the party would continue to empower women in many other ways.
Madhav said those who were not in the cabinet now for various reasons would continue to work in important positions in the party and the party gave importance to all sections, including women.