J&K Gets Representation In Modi's Cabinet

26 May 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Neeraj Rohmetra

Jammu: Giving due representation to Jammu and Kashmir in his Government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inducted senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Member of Parliament (MP), Dr Jitendra Singh in his Council of Ministers. Dr Singh has been made Minister of State with Independent charge and the portfolio is likely to be given to him tomorrow. The information about his induction into the Council of Ministers was shared by the Prime Minister designate in his brief meeting with Dr Singh, at 9.00 AM today morning at Gujarat Bhawan in New Delhi. Famous Diabetologist, Dr Singh defeated the Congress stalwart and former Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 60,976 votes. Mr Singh, who contested his first political battle polled 4, 87,369 votes, while as Mr Azad got 4,26,393 votes. Elated over his induction, Dr Jitendra Singh, who hailed from a far-flung village of the Doda district while talking to EXCELSIOR from New Delhi said, 'It is a big responsibility and I shall try my utmost to deliver the mandate given to me by the electorate of the State'. Expressing his gratitude to the people of State in general and BJP workers in particular, he said, 'I along with my fellow colleagues - Jugal Kishore (MP from Jammu) and Thupstan Chewang (MP from Ladakh region) would highlight all grievances of the electorate and would endeavour to highlight all issue like that of West Pak refugees, problems of violence-infested areas, VDC members, Kashmiri Pandits and other issue confronting the State', adding, 'we will jointly try to push through the developmental agenda of the State'. Asked what portfolio will be granted to him, he quipped, 'with all humility, I would like to state that I am here to serve the people of country and will do whatever duties are assigned to me'. Dr Singh, who is presently also a member of the BJP National Executive had played a historic role in 2008 Amarnath Land row agitation and was also a member of the Core Committee of the Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti. He has been an active participant in panel discussions on several news channels of national repute and is also national TV panellist of BJP and the Chief Spokesperson of the party for this border State. Interestingly, Dr Singh is also renowned Diabetologist of International repute and had served as Chairman of the National Scientific Committee of Diabetes (RSSDI 2013). Besides, he has so far contributed over five thousand published articles in the press including a widely syndicate column 'Tales of Travesty', which was published in this newspaper on regular basis. He is also author of five books; Elsiver published monograms and over a dozen chapters in various text books of Diabetes and Medicine for MD students. Scripting a new electoral history, the BJP won three Lok Sabha seats in the State during the recently concluded Parliamentary polls with Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma making maiden entries to the Parliament from Udhampur-Doda and Jammu-Poonch seats respectively, while Thupstan Chhewang won the Ladakh seat for the first time for BJP and second time for himself. Widely attributed to Narendra Modi wave, the BJP managed to wrest Jammu-Poonch and Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seats from the Congress after 15 years as the party had last time won the two seats in 1999 elections when Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister. The BJP had never won Ladakh seat before though it had held Udhampur seat for three consecutive terms in 1996, 1998 and 1999 and Jammu seat for two terms in 1998 and 1999. However, Dr Singh, riding high on Modi wave and his own charisma of being an intellectual and pro-Jammu leader, an image he developed during 2008 Amarnath land row agitation defeated Azad with an impressive margin. Dr Singh had contested his first election of his political career as he had joined BJP only four years back after resigning as Professor in Medicines Department of the GMC Jammu. This will be for the second time that BJP MP from Jammu region has made it to the Council of Ministers in the Central Government. Earlier, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, after his re-election to the 13th Lok Sabha (3rd term) in 1999 had served as Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation (1999-2001); Union Minister of State (Independent Charge for Food and Union Minister of State for Defence (July 2002-2004). When the BJP led NDA Government was in power in the Centre in 1999, the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had inducted Omar Abdullah in his Council of Ministers after the National Conference agreed to be part of the NDA.