Son of a security aide of erstwhile Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, Nirmal Singh who holds a doctorate degree in history, was today sworn in as the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir for the second time. The journey to one of the coveted posts in J and K has been through a long wait for Nirmal Kumar Singh of BJP.
After the heart-burn during the ticket distribution in last Lok Sabha election, Singh was the unanimous choice of BJP for the post of deputy chief minister when PDP and BJP decided to forge an alliance last year.
The state was put under Governor’s rule following the demise of then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed when both the coalition partners failed to come close to form the government.
However, after the meeting of Mehbooba Mufti with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, both the parties decided to form the government and Singh once again emerged as the consensus candidate of BJP for the post of deputy CM.
Singh has contested several Lok Sabha and state assembly elections over the past 25 years but had to wait till 2014 for his maiden victory.
60-year-old Singh won his first Assembly election last year from Billawar constituency in Kathua district by defeating sitting Congress MLA Manohar Lal Sharma by a margin of nearly 18,000 votes.
Singh’s father was part of the security cordon of the then Maharaja of the state. A professor of history at Jammu University, Singh hails from Karanwara-Sabar area of Basohli tehsil in Kathua.
Singh did his Ph.D in history from Jammu University in 1988 and was serving as a professor of history in the varsity before his election to the assembly. A longtime RSS supporter, the BJP leader is considered the main force behind the rise of party in Jammu region of the state over the years.
Singh started taking active interest in political activities at a young age. He was arrested during the Emergency in 1975.
In 2014, he was a front runner as the BJP candidate for Doda-Udhampur Lok Sabha seat but lost out to eventual winner Jitendra Singh. After that, he had maintained a low profile ahead of the Lok Sabha polls but worked with full commitment after he was appointed as the chairman of campaign committee in Jammu and Kashmir.