Oppn disrupts Guv Address against discrimination

Oppn disrupts Guv Address against discrimination

23 February 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Budget session of the State Legislature today began on a stormy note with Governor NN Vohraís Address to joint session of the Legislature being disrupted by official four member faction of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and lone member of Jammu State Morcha (JSM) in Central Hall of Legislature while the National Panthers Party (NPP) staging a demonstration outside. The BJP and JSM also held a protest outside the Legislature Hall before the Governorís Address. However, the major 21 members opposition party, the PDP, maintained silence during the Governor Address. The PDP members led by their Legislature Party leader Mehbooba Mufti listened the Governorís 48 minutes Address without any disruptions. Seven BJP rebels too kept quiet though their leader Prof Chaman Lal Gupta stood up for a while. After the BJPís walk-out, the silence in the Central Hall of Legislature was broken thrice by Independent MLA from Langate, Engineer Abdul Rashid, who passed some remarks on development works read out by the Governor. As soon as Mr Vohra entered the Central Hall of Legislature at 10.30 am and started reading his Address after the national anthem, all four BJP MLAs including Jugal Kishore Sharma, the Legislature Party leader, Ashok Khajuria, Sham Choudhary and Sukhnandan Choudhary were on their feet. Wearing black half cut kurtas with slogans against the Government and discrimination with Jammu region, Mr Sharma and Mr Khajuria waved copies of a Government SRO and shouted that 12 new Urban Local Bodies have been created for Kashmir as against just four for Jammu region. They described it as blatant and latest act of discrimination with Jammu. They said the Government was not concerned about West Pakistan and PoK refugees, who were being denied of even their basic rights and amenities. They also resented the new recruitment policy of the Government describing it as 'anti-unemployed youthsí and called for its immediate withdrawal. Mr Sharma said the Government has released ' 356 crore for Dal lake and nothing for Jammu. After about seven minutes of protest inside the Central Hall of Legislature disrupting the Governorís Address, all four BJP legislators staged a walk-out from the Hall shouting slogans like 'Jammu Virodhi Sarkar Hai Haií and 'Refugeon Kay Saath Dhokha, Bandh Karo Bandh Karo' etc. The Governor started his Address around 10.35 am during five minutes of protests but it was audible from 10.37 am when the BJP MLA had left the Central Hall of Legislature. JSM MLA Ashwani Sharma also joined the protests along with the BJP members to protest discrimination with Jammu region. However, he didnít join the walk-out. Seven rebel BJP MLAs, who have been expelled and disqualified by the party, were sitting in the Central Hall. They didnít support their former BJP colleagues. Prof Gupta stood up for a while and wanted to say something but took his seat as the Governor started his Address. All seven rebel MLAs were sitting separate from the official group, though on the right side of the Central Hall along with other opposition members. The National Panthers Party (NPP) MLAs-Harshdev Singh, Balwant Singh Mankotia and Yashpal Kundal protested against discrimination with Jammu region, rampant corruption in the Government, total collapse of administrative machinery, problems of West Pakistan and PoK refugees and a variety of other issues outside the Central Hall of Legislature. They boycotted the Governorís Address on these issues. Prior to proceeding to the Central Hall of Legislature, the BJP and JSM MLAs also staged a dharna outside the Hall highlighting the issues of discrimination with Jammu, new recruitment policy etc. Protesting outside the Central Hall of Legislature and talking to media, BJP leader Jugal Kishore Sharma, Ashok Khajuria, Sham Choudhary and Sukhnandan Choudhary demanded resignations of the Ministers of Congress over the discrimination with Jammu. 'We want the resignation of the Ministers of Congress for discrimination with Jammu region for new local body committees and wards, which were carved out more in Kashmir than in Jammu', Mr Kishore said displaying a copy of the Government SRO. He said that party MLAs have boycotted Governor's Address in protest against the discrimination with the Jammu region on all fronts. 'We will not tolerate this discrimination at all and will fight against it', he said. Earlier, led by the JKNPP Chairman, Prof Bhim Singh, over 200 activists today marched towards the Assembly amid anti-Government slogans to gherao the House in support of their demand for dismissal of Omar Abdullah Government. A heavy police contingent, which had barricaded the road towards Assembly and Civil Secretariat, did not allow them to move towards the Civil Secretariat from Shalamar Chowk. Later, the JKNPP activists clashed with police and Bhim Singh along with party general secretary Anita Thakur, former MLA Faqir Nath and other activists were detained and the situation defused. JKNPP MLAs Harshdev Singh, Balwant Mankotia and Yashpal Kundal, who sat on a dharna in front of the Central Hall of the Legislature, raised anti-Government slogans and demanded sacking of the Omar Government for failure on all fronts. 'There is no achievement of the Government at the ground level. The only achievement of the Government on the ground is the high level of corruption from top to bottom', JKNPP Legislature Party leader Harshdev Singh said outside the Legislature Hall. 'People are not happy with this Government. Employees are not happy with this Government. Farmers are not happy with the Government. Unemployed youths are not happy with the Government. The Government didnít deserve to continue at the helm of affairs even for a minute', Mr Singh said adding 'there is no governance seen on the ground'. 'The Government should be dismissed so that people get relief from the high degree of corruption in which several Ministers were facing serious allegations', Harshdev said. Unlike in the past budget session for past three years, opposition PDP did not resorted to protests or boycott of the Address. PDP in past three session have been instrumental in disrupting the Assembly over several issues including human right violations and custodial killings.