Jammu: Nirmal Singh, who resigned from the post of Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief Minister, will be the new Speaker of the state Assembly, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Madhav said on Monday.

On a day eight ministers joined chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s council of ministers, Madhav said a reshuffle had been planned as the government had completed three years and it was felt more legislators should be given the experience of being in the state Cabinet.

“Dr Nirmal Singh ji will be the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly," Madhav said at a press conference here after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly inducted ministers.

Ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle, Singh had last night tendered his resignation to pave the way for state Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta to take over the post. The resignation was accepted by the governor.

With Singh now set to become the Assembly Speaker, the two senior BJP leaders have exchanged places during the reshuffle. Eight MLAs including Gupta and state BJP chief Sat Paul Sharma were sworn in today by J&K Governor N.N. Vohra as ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government.

“While Kavinder ji will lead the new team, Dr Singh will take charge of Assembly," Madhav said.

He said the BJP-PDP government had completed almost three years. “We had planned a reshuffle at this time; we thought MLAs must get experience of being in the state Cabinet. It became bigger than expected as two of our ministers had to resign. Six ministers of BJP took oath today," Madhav said

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