The newly selected Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) state president, Ravinder Raina, is addressing his first party convention here on Wednesday.
Ravinder, MLA from Nowshera, was appointed the party’s new state unit chief on Sunday and he took over from Sat Paul Sharma, who was inducted in the cabinet last month.
Although many veteran party leaders were in the fray for the post, the BJP leadership chose firebrand Raina who is in his 40s. A staunch RSS worker, Raina joined the BJP in 2010, and remained state president of BJYM, youth wing of the BJP. In 2014 he won the Nowshera assembly seat by defeating his nearest rival Surinder Choudhary of PDP.
“Raina will be arriving in Kashmir Tuesday,” a senior BJP leader told . “He will be welcomed by a large number of BJP supporters here.”
The senior BJP leader said that Raina will be addressing a party convention besides meeting senior leaders and activists of BJP here. “A new strategy for strengthening the party in Kashmir will be chalked out during his visit,” he said adding that all arrangements have been finalized. “BJP general secretary (organization) Ashok Kaul and some ministers will be accompanying Raina during the convention.”
Raina, known for his outspoken nature, has triggered several controversies in the past. He first attracted limelight when he took oath as MLA in 2015 in the name of ‘Mata Vaishno Devi’. The then pro tem Speaker Mohammad Shafi Uri had to intervene and ask Raina to take oath in the name of God.
Some months later, Raina, along with other BJP legislators – Rajeev Sharma (Akhnoor MLA) and Dr Gagan Bhagat (RS Pura MLA) – assaulted independent MLA Engineer Rashid inside the Assembly “for hosting a beef party” at the MLA Hostel.