RSS face Ravinder Raina is new BJP state chief

Facing criticism for abandoning the party’s core ideology to remain in power, the BJP on Sunday appointed hardcore RSS man Ravinder Raina, 40, as the new state president to “aggressively pursue” the Sangh Parivar’s agenda in the government.
Ravinder Raina will replace Sat Sharma, who was inducted as Cabinet Minister in the Council of Ministers headed by Mehbooba Mufti during the massive reshuffle on April 30.
Party president Amit Shah on Sunday appointed Raina as the new state chief of the BJP, which is sharing power with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). “My priority is to pursue the party’s agenda in the government,” Raina told Kashmir Post after his appointment but avoided speaking on any other issue. “I will speak on other issues only after formally assuming charge as state president,” he said.
Although veteran leaders were also in the fray for the post, the BJP leadership preferred the young Raina, who is a refugee from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and a native of the border district of Rajouri.
A senior BJP leader, who wished not to be quoted, said the appointment of Raina was a clear indication that the party was going to adopt an aggressive posture in the days to come. “Raina’s name was discussed during the recent ministerial reshuffle but the RSS leadership had decided to give him organisational responsibility to take on the PDP,” a source said, adding that the RSS appointment is a clear indication that the BJP is trying to remove the impression that the party is playing second fiddle to the PDP in the coalition.
Raina, who left the Navy in 2000 to become an RSS parcharak, joined the BJP in 2012. As a parcharak, he worked in different areas of J&K. He remained the BJP youth wing president from 2012 to 2015.
Raina, an MLA from the Nowshera Assembly segment of Rajouri district, had courted controversy in 2015 when he took oath in the name of ‘Mata Vaishno Devi’. Members of the opposition objected to it, saying there was no provision for a member of the House to take oath in the name of Vaishno Devi. Pro tem Speaker Mohmmad Shafi had intervened, asking Raina to take oath in the name of God.
The same year, he got into another controversy when he along with other BJP legislators, namely Rajeev Sharma and Dr Gagan Bhagat, had allegedly assaulted Independent MLA Engineer Rasheed inside the Assembly for hosting a “beef party” at the state MLA hostel.
In 2014, Raina was given the mandate from the Nowshera Assembly segment from where he defeated PDP leader Surinder Choudhary.

Brush with controversies
Raina, an MLA from the Nowshera Assembly segment of Rajouri district, had courted controversy in 2015 when he took oath in the name of ‘Mata Vaishno Devi’. Members of the opposition objected to it, saying there was no provision for a member of the House to take oath in the name of Vaishno Devi. Pro tem Speaker Mohmmad Shafi had intervened, asking Raina to take oath in the name of God.
The same year, he got into another controversy when he along with other BJP legislators had allegedly assaulted Independent MLA Engineer Rasheed inside the Assembly for hosting a “beef party” at the state MLA hostel.