Ravinder Raina, BJP’s colourful ‘chief’ in J&K

Ravinder Raina served in Merchant Navy before becoming an RSS pracharak. Before the Assembly polls, he was accused of falsely claiming that there was an attempt to his life by rival PDP candidate

Social Media 
Social Media

Ashutosh Sharma

An embarrassed Union Home Minister and the new J&K Governor scrambled to contain damage done by BJP’s irrepressible state president boasting that the new Governor, Satya Pal Malik, was ‘Apna banda’ and would be more receptive than the outgoing Governor, NN Vohra, known to be his own man.

In March, he posed with army personnel and members of the Special Operations Group, and posted photographs on social media. The action of taking photographs during a security operation was seen as a breach of the Standard Operating Procedures. He was given a dressing down by the security personnel. But the exuberant state president has a penchant for visiting border areas, encounter sites and posing with arms and ammunition.

Ravinder Raina served in Merchant Navy for a few years before becoming a full-time RSS pracharak. The first-time MLA from Nowshera-Sundar Bani constituency replaced the low-key and mild Sat Sharma as state party president in the wake of the Kathua rape and murder case.

The exuberant state president of BJP has a penchant for visiting border areas, encounter sites and posing with arms and ammunition 

The appointment came at a time when BJP’s popularity in the region had taken a hit. And BJP clearly believed that the aggressive, outspoken and flamboyant 41-year-old would be able to stem the tide.

But Raina has been more in the news for wrong reasons. In the run-up to the Assembly election, he was accused of making false claims of attempts on his life by the rival PDP candidate, even hospitalising himself for a photo-op. He won the election narrowly.

He insisted on taking oath in the name of ‘Mata Vaishno Devi’ in the Assembly. It caused a furor because the Constitution provisions for an oath in the name of God. Soon thereafter, he assaulted Independent MLA Engineer Rashid for allegedly hosting a ‘beef party’ at the MLA Hostel. And when the police stopped him and his men from attacking Rashid again, Raina alleged that state police had been infiltrated by Pakistanis. “Engineer Rashid is a Pakistani. We won’t allow Pakistanis here. We will shoot them dead. We will slit their throats,” he told a national TV News channel.

A self-proclaimed Gaurakshak, he recently drew flak for posting a selfie showing him standing against the burning pyre of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He also hogged headlines after beating up two Aadhaar Centre Employees, one of them physically challenged. He was allegedly miffed over delay in issuance of cards to his family members.

Raina was again back in the news recently when a woman complained that sexual favours to leaders had become necessary for women to advance in the party. After the embarrassing video went viral, Raina referred the matter to the disciplinary committee. He warned the women that if she failed to prove allegations of misconduct, he would slap defamation charges against her.

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