Srinagar/Jammu, Apr 13: Two BJP state ministers, who had attended a protest organised in support of the Kathua gang-rape and murder accused, resigned on Friday. The development comes amid reports of a strain in the BJP-PDP alliance. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, however, said there was no problem in the alliance.
Industries and Commerce Minister Chander Prakash Ganga and Forest Minister Lal Singh tendered their resignation after the PDP reportedly pressed for dropping them from the Cabinet. The duo had caused embarrassment to the party as they had attended a protest in favour of the accused.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav refuted the reports of a strain, saying there was no problem in the alliance and the party was talking to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“There is no trouble in the alliance as such. We are in touch with Mehbooba Mufti Ji and she is of the view on the minsters issue that BJP should take a stand. The PM also advised us to take appropriate action to send a right message to people,” he said.
On the two leaders, he said they came under public pressure to attend the protest.
“There was indiscretion on part of our 2 ministers (Lal Singh & PC Ganga). They came under pressure from the local public and they spoke at a gathering. I immediately flew to Jammu as soon as I got to know and told the party that we should fully support the investigation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lal Singh said that he merely put the demand of CBI inquiry, which was put forward by the public.
“When we met people they put forward a demand for CBI inquiry. We had simply put it across being people’s representatives. Now, such a perception is being created that I deemed it fit to tender my resignation,” he said.
The developments came after Mehbooba Mufti spoke with Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP chief Amit Shah and party general secretary Ram Madhav, PDP sources said.
An 8-year-old girl was abducted in January and gang-raped for a week by a group of locals including policemen. Sedatives were forced down the throat of the girl. She was later strangulated. The incident has caused a national outrage with many notable personalities demanding justice for the victim.
A Special Investigation Team of Crime Branch, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable and a Sub-inspector.
(With agency inputs)