Lal, Ganga quit; resignations likely to be accepted

Mehbooba calls high-level PDP meeting

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Apr 13: The two BJP Ministers-Choudhary Lal Singh (Forest) and Chander Prakash Ganga (Industry and Commerce), who were under fire for allegedly instigating the people in Rassana rape-cum-murder case of eight year old minor girl, tonight submitted their resignations to State BJP chief Sat Sharma , which would be taken up for discussion at a high-level meeting called here by BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav, party’s pointman on Jammu and Kashmir, and were likely to be accepted.
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The resignations came after two-day long high drama in the State as well as the national capital with several Opposition parties including National Conference and Congress seeking dismissal of Singh and Ganga from the Cabinet for their “controversial role” in Rassana rape-cum-murder of the minor.
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and BJP’s national president Amit Shah after which the BJP high command decided to depute Ram Madhav to Jammu for holding detailed discussions at the Legislature Party meeting tomorrow morning on “entire gamut of developing situation” in Jammu and Kashmir including the issues of Rohingyas, Tribal Policy and, above all, the rape-cum-murder of eight year old minor girl of Rassana in Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district.
On the other, Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti has also called meeting of the Legislature Party and senior functionaries at her official Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar tomorrow afternoon to discuss all aspects of the prevailing situation.
BJP State president Sat Sharma told the Excelsior tonight that Forest Minister Choudhary Lal Singh, party MLA from Basohli and Industry and Commerce Minister Chander Prakash Ganga, MLA Vijaypur, have submitted their resignations to him.
BJP sources said the party high command directed both the Ministers to resign after national outrage over the rape-cum-murder of minor Rassana girl and fingers pointed toward these two Ministers that during their visit to Hiranagar they had attempted to shield the accused.
“The resignations would be discussed at tomorrow’s high-level meeting called by Ram Madhav here and were likely to be accepted,” sources said, adding the resignations would be forwarded to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who had to submit them to Governor NN Vohra for acceptance.
Sources pointed out that the PDP had taken very hard stand on resignations of the two BJP Ministers from the Cabinet on Rassana issue and conveyed it to the BJP high command that they had to resign for smooth functioning of the Alliance Government.
In their resignation letters, sources said, Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga stated that they were offering resignations to the State party president as they felt that image of the party has been dented by the propaganda unleashed against them. They were reported to have clarified that they haven’t done anything wrong by visiting Hiranagar as they just wanted fair probe into the rape-cum-murder of minor.
Sources said Rajnath spoke to Mehbooba Mufti and then BJP national president Amit Shah on the situation developing in Jammu over rape-cum-murder of eight year old minor Bakerwal girl of Rassana, Hiranagar in Kathua district and reviewed steps required to defuse tension, restore normalcy and ensure that the girl gets justice with the arrest of all accused.
After the talks, a decision was taken to depute BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav, party’s pointman on Jammu and Kashmir here tomorrow to discuss all aspects of the situation with the senior party leaders and take effective steps to defuse tension and ensure that justice is delivered to the minor rape victim.
“Madhav will reach here tomorrow morning and preside over the meeting of BJP’s Legislature Party in which senior office bearers and other functionaries will also be present. He will take views of the BJP leaders of State unit on a series of issues especially Rassana incident, Rohingyas issue and Tribal Policy on which the BJP has been facing wrath of the people especially after April 11 complete bandh,” the BJP leaders said, adding the resignations of the two Ministers will also be put up in the meeting.
Sources said there was a viewpoint within the BJP that Rohingyas can’t be settled in Jammu and Kashmir till Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which grants special status to the State, is intact and they can call for ouster of Rohingyas from Jammu on this pretext. However, various issues would be debated in the meeting but focus would remain on Rassana rape-cum-murder.
Rajnath Singh said in New Delhi today that the family of Kathua rape victim should get justice and added that he is in favour of ensuring proper justice to the family of the minor.
“The victim’s family should get justice,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has also called PDP’s Legislature Party meeting at her official residence at Gupkar Road, Srinagar tomorrow, which will also be attended by senior office bearers and other party functionaries to debate prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir including increased number of civilian killings in the encounters and steps required for delivering justice to the family of Rassana rape-cum-murder victim.


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