Jammu: An old RSS hand, known as a 'hardliner' who had allegedly assaulted a legislator inside the state Assembly for holding a "beef party", newly-appointed Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina joined politics, it is said, on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's advice.
The 40-year-old former Sangh pracharak made steady progress and won from his home constituency of Nowshera in Rajouri district on a BJP ticket in the state Assembly elections in 2014.
The MLA was appointed as the president of the BJP's Jammu and Kashmir unit by party chief Amit Shah on Sunday. His predecessor, Sat Sharma, was inducted into the PDP-BJP government as a minister last month.
Holding a post-graduate degree in international law and human rights, Raina has been associated with the welfare of victims of terrorism in the state. After graduation, he qualified the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam and joined the Indian Navy, but returned as a human rights activist in 2004.
It is said that Raina was advised to join the BJP by former Prime Minister Vajpayee during a meeting. He soon rose to become the state president of party's youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
He courted controversy in 2015 when he took oath in the name of 'Mata Vaishno Devi'. It was strongly objected by Opposition members, who said there was no provision for a member of the House to take oath in the name of Vaishno Devi.
However, the then pro tem Speaker, Mohammad Shafi, intervened and asked him to take oath in the name of God.
Outspoken in his criticism of Pakistan and separatists, including the Hurriyat leaders, Raina created a scene in the Assembly in Jammu when he allegedly assaulted Independent legislator from north Kashmir, Sheikh Rashid, for hosting a "beef party" outside the MLA hostel in Srinagar in 2015.
During the budget session early this year, Mr Raina led his party colleagues several times in shouting anti-Pakistan slogans in the House to protest the frequent ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country along the Line of Control or LoC.
He also unsuccessfully sought the passage of a resolution in the Assembly condemning Pakistan for repeatedly shelling and firing in the border areas....