J&K budget session begins: Opposition interrupts governor address, stages walkout
Disruptive start: After a brief pause, the governor began his address amid high-pitched protests, noisy scenes and thumping of desks in a bid to disrupt his speech, but he continued his addressindia Updated: Jan 03, 2018 14:30 IST
As anticipated, the budget session of the Jammu and Kashmir state legislature began on a stormy note on Tuesday as an unrelenting Opposition including Congress and National Conference (NC) first interrupted governor NN Vohra’s address to both the houses of legislature and then staged a walkout.
At 11 am sharp, the governor reached the central hall. As soon as the national anthem ended upon his arrival, the governor was about to start his address when members of the Opposition stood up from their chairs and started shouting slogans.
Senior NC MLA Mohammad Shafi Uri started reading out from a written memorandum listing charges against the government. The governor gave him a patient hearing and asked him to submit the memorandum so that he can begin his speech. Though Shafi handed over the memorandum to the governor, Opposition MLAs resorted to sloganeering when Vohra started his address.
After a brief pause, the governor began his address amid high-pitched protests, noisy scenes and thumping of desks in a bid to disrupt his speech, but he continued his address.
“I firmly believe that dialogue is the core of a strong and vibrant parliamentary democracy. Looking forward to a fructuous winter session of the Assembly.” — Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti
Holding placards in their hands which read — "restore the spirit of Panchayati Raj Act" , "Panchayat ki taqat ko wapis karo", " Zamhoriyat Ki Qatil Sarkar Awam ko Jawab Do," " Zalimo Hosh Mein Aayo", and " Awam Dushman Sarkar Hai Hai".
While Congress legislators raked up the issue of weakening of the Panchayati Raj Act by the present PDP- BJP government, NC was furious over alleged human rights abuse and deteriorating security scenario in Kashmir.
Vohra, on a couple of occasions, asked the Opposition to stay calm but it was of no use. Later, talking to media outside the central Hall, leader of the Congress Legislative Party, Nawang Rigzin Jora said they boycotted the address because the present government violated the constitutional provisions by not holding the session within the stipulated time period of six months.
"They held the session for three days in Srinagar for the passage of GST Bill. That was not a proper session," he said. He also lashed out at the government saying that by not implementing the 73rd amendment of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, this government has deliberately left the door open for horse-trading.
NC members boycotted the address on alleged human rights abuse, missing basic amenities and poor power scenario. The ruckus continued for 18 minutes and the NC and Congress legislators staged a walkout in the middle of the governor’s address.
However, Independent MLA Engineer Rasheed Ahmed continued interrupting the governor’ address with his protests by speaking on the “government’s failure to save innocent lives in Kashmir”.
Speaking to the media, NC MLA Ali Mohmmad Sagar said the government had “failed” on all fronts from security to governance. NC MLA Ali Mohammed Sagar said that party has submitted a memorandum to governor on the “total failure” of the government and demanding its dismissal.
“NC is of the opinion that the present Government has brought the state to a passé where the identity of the state and its constitutional status is being challenged and is under threat. The present dispensation has failed to protect the special status guaranteed to the state and its people under Article 370 and 35-A of the Constitution of India,” he said.
He also expressed deep concern over the worsening situation in the state and the continued political vacuum that has affected the state’s human rights situation, economy and growth adversely.
Paying for Cong-NC misdeeds: PDP
Talking to the media, the public works department minister and spokesperson of the ruling PDP-BJP alliance Naeem Akhtar said he was upset over the “unruly behavior” of the Opposition. They (Congress and NC) sowed the seeds of the venom of terrorism in the past 50 to 60 years in the state and we are paying for their misdeeds, he said.
“It was a solemn occasion but they didn’t maintain decorum. It was inept on their part,” he said. He also said that the previous NC-Congress government had played havoc with the administrative machinery. “They appointed casual workers, unpaid workers while our government regularised 60,00 casual workers. We also brought reforms in the financial system,” he said.
Earlier this morning, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti posted on her twitter account, saying, “I firmly believe that dialogue is the core of a strong and vibrant parliamentary democracy. Looking forward to a fructuous winter session of the Assembly.”
Panchayat elections from Feb a cruel joke
While the PDP-BJP alliance had earlier announced the Panchayat elections from February 15 this year, Congress and NC have called it a cruel joke with the people of the state as the government has not implemented the 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution to the J&K Panchayati Raj Act.
In 1992, the Indian Parliament had passed the 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution to strengthen the Panchayati Raj System and remove its inherent weaknesses.
The broader contours of the 73rd Amendment talk about creation of a State Election Commission to conduct elections to Panchayats, five-year tenure of Panchayats (fresh polls within six months, if dissolved before tenure), state finance commission to review their fiscal health, one-third reservation for women and reservation for SC/STs.