Opposition Parties Unite Against Govt5 March 2011
Jammu: The State Legislative Assembly on Saturday saw a united opposition on Saturday taking on the government over the alleged misappropriation and discriminatory allocation of funds in various assembly segments. The opposition members staged walk out demanding formation of Joint House Committee to probe the matter.The Question Hour was disrupted over the “discriminatory approach” adopted by the government in upgradation of health institutions and opening of new schools in various assembly segments of the state. The opposition accused Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather, Health Minister, Sham Lal Sharma and Education Minister, Peerzada Sayeed of limiting the development in education and health sectors to their respective constituencies only. Accusing the government of not sanctioning additionalities to the districts represented by opposition members, the opposition charged the chief minister of sanctioning one crore rupees to even defeated National Conference candidates for carrying development works in their constituencies. The trouble bang when during Question Hour, the health minister was replying to the query of PDP MLA, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali regarding the criteria adopted for upgradation of various health institutions in the state. While Sharma was giving the reply, Zulfikar alleged that his consistency was being neglected in this regard. Panther’s Party leader Harsh Dev Singh, CPI (M) legislator MY Tarigami and PDP’S Molvi Iftikhar Ansari sought answers on the “discrimination” role played by health minister in this regard. Harshdev entered into direct verbal confrontation with Sharma. He blamed Finance Minister of getting eight PHCs sanctioned in his constituency. On this the entire opposition including PDP, BJP, NPP, CPI (M), JSM, Hakim Yasin and Er Sheikh Rashid stood up and entered into the well of House shouting ‘choor bazari band karo, lout khasoot band karo”. Pertinently, this was the first issue which saw the entire opposition in unison demanding formation of Joint House Committee to probe the alleged bungling of funds and discriminatory approach of government towards the constituencies represented by the opposition members. Tarigami ridiculed the approach of government. “Is it necessary to be a Finance Minister to get a PHC sanctioned in your constituency? The coalition government is humiliating the opposition members,” he said and staged walk out. The din continued for around 15 minutes with Speaker Muhammad Akhber Lone trying to pacify the unruly opposition before the entire opposition staged walk out from the House. Taking to media persons in the lawns of assembly complex, members of all opposition parties accused the government of adopting discriminatory attitude towards the opposition. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who was leading the united opposition, said, “Eight health centers have been sanctioned in Finance Minister’s constituency, 17 new schools were opened and 17 crore rupees were sanctioned in his constituency under NABARD. Same is the case with other ministers, particularly health and education minister. Similarly, one crore has been sanctioned to every defeated candidate. So the entire opposition has decided to fight this opposition unanimously,” she said. “We only want government to form a Joint House Committee which can bring facts to surface.” Harshdev alleged government of abusing the public exchequer by making it as its personal property. “Education minister is opening schools in his own constituency, health minister upgrades health centers in his own constituency. This is blatant abuse of public exchequer. That is why entire opposition is united and demand formation of joint house committee,” he said. BJP Leader Chaman Lal Gupta too expressed similar views. Finance minister and health minister refuted the allegations of the opposition. Rather said the eight health centers sanctioned in his constituency were sanctioned in District Development Board meeting before 2002. The decision of sanctioning staff and building, he added, was kept in abeyance by the successive government. Before the end of Zero Hour, the opposition members again entered into the House and raised their demand of formation of Joint House Committee. However, the Speaker reserved his judgment until the House was adjourned for lunch break. The opposition members boycotted the House in the second sitting.