‘A proud RSS man’: Meet the new J&K Deputy Chief Minister

Terming the Kathua rape a minor incident, the new Dy CM Kavinder Gupta said media must change its negative mindset and not hype the incident. He went on to call PM Modi the incarnation of God

Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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Ashutosh Sharma

Soon after the swearing in ceremony, the new J&K Deputy CM Kavinder Gupta triggered a controversy by terming the Kathua rape and murder case as a “small” incident which was being unnecessarily hyped.

Doubling down on his earlier remarks, he told a private radio channel in Jammu on Wednesday that the media needed to change it’s “negative” outlook.

“It’s a small issue. It should not be hyped unnecessarily,” said Gupta, an old BJP hand in the state.

Asked to clarify his comments that underplayed the brutal incident, Gupta told 92.7 Big FM in a Facebook Live interview: “The media must change its negative mindset. The rape issue must not be raised time and again. In Jammu, little girls are seen as incarnations of Goddess (Vaishno Devi). It was a shameful incident and the victim must get justice. Our Prime Minister, within 4-5 days, took cognizance and has brought a new ordinance on death penalty for child rape.”

Pertinently, the BJP had to drop two ministers from the state’s cabinet who had participated in a rally held in support of arrested rape accused. Paradoxically, the BJP has now inducted Kathua MLA Rajeev Jasrotia in the council of ministers. Jasrotia had also taken part in the rally which was organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the accused persons.

However, during the interview with 92.7 Big FM Gupta quoted a verse from Bhagavad Gita, “Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata, abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham”, and went on to elaborate that “whenever sins start overwhelming the earth, an incarnation of God takes birth and we have got the incarnation of God in the form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

In the same interview, he advised unemployed youth not to run after government jobs and instead avail benefits under centrally-sponsored self-employment schemes. “The youth must empower them through Make in India, (Pradhan Mantri) Mudra Yojana, (National) Skill Development (Mission).”

Earlier, commenting on his RSS connection, Gupta told media, “I am proud to be an RSS activist,” while advising coalition partner PDP to follow coalition dharma. Ironically, PDP had fought assembly elections against divisive and communal politics of BJP-RSS, pleading to keep the duo out of Kashmir Valley.

The 59-year-old leader had joined RSS as a teenager. Before joining the BJP and becoming mayor of Jammu city from 2005 to 2010, he was the secretary of the Punjab chapter of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in 1978-79 and eventually headed the J&K unit of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, for two consecutive terms from 1993 till 1998.

Gupta was elected as an MLA for the first time in 2014 from the Gandhi Nagar and was later unanimously appointed as Speaker in the state assembly.

“RSS is a nationalist organisation. I am proud to be an RSS activist. PM Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu besides Defence Minister and Finance Minister belong to RSS. The country is progressing under their leadership,” he was quoted by BBC Hindi.

As the Speaker of the J&K Assembly, Gupta courted controversy after wrongly accusing Rohingyas refugees — settled in and around Jammu city—of being involved in the terror attack on Sunjuwan Army camp in February this year.

In the same month, when Gupta was the Speaker, National Conference MLA and former Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone had accused then Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh and Gupta of defaulting loans from Jammu and Kashmir Bank.

Interestingly, Gupta didn’t allow Lone speak much, ruling that the House didn’t have jurisdiction over J&K Bank. While he did not allow a debate on the issue inside the House, he later told a local daily that it was a “non-issue.”

In the same month, Opposition National Conference and many members of civil society had accused Gupta of abusing his position by getting his daughter appointed as dental surgeon against an “available post that magically appeared”.

However, during interview with the 92.7 Big FM Gupta quoted a verse from Bhagavad Gita, “Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata, abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham”, stating that “whenever sins start overwhelming the earth, an incarnation of God takes birth and we have got the incarnation of God in the form of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

“Thousands of years ago, India was Vishwa guru (world leader)…a golden sparrow,” he maintained, adding that “again, lets pledge to become a global super power. Let’s again become Vishwa guru. India is our mother and we must not let our mother kneel down.”

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Published: 02 May 2018, 4:39 PM