Trouble Likely From Day 1 As Guv Addresses Joint Session Today

Trouble Likely From Day 1 As Guv Addresses Joint Session Today

27 February 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Thirty-four days long budget session of the State Legislature with 26 sittings, which would begin tomorrow with Governor NN Vohra’s Address to joint session of the two Houses, was likely to witness storm from the very first day with Opposition gearing up to take on the Government on a host of issues. However, the Opposition has decided not to field any candidate against National Conference official nominee for the post of Speaker, Mubarak Gul, paving the way for his unanimous election to the coveted post tomorrow in the Legislative Assembly. Official sources told the Excelsior that National Conference moved the motion before the Assembly Secretariat proposing name of party’s veteran leader and four times MLA Mubarak Gul for the post of Speaker, which was lying vacant since January 15 when Mohammad Akbar Lone had resigned as Speaker to join the Council of Ministry as Higher Education Minister. Today was last date for the political parties to move motion of their candidates for the post of Speaker. While the NC proposed the name of Mr Gul, who had quit as Advisor to Chief Minister on January 15, none of the Opposition parties moved any name, sources said, adding Mr Gul would be elected new Speaker of the Assembly tomorrow unanimously. Excelsior had on January 16 exclusively reported that Mr Gul would be new Speaker of the Assembly after the resignation of Mr Lone, who had presided over four budget sessions of the Legislature very effectively. Sources said Governor NN Vohra would address joint session of Legislature at 10.30 am at Central Hall of Legislature on Thursday. After his Address, both Houses of Legislature would meet separately for obituary reference followed by unanimous election of Mr Gul as the Speaker. Mr Gul had represent Iddgah Assembly constituency of Srinagar district for four terms including 1983, 1996, 2002 and 2008. He was a member of the Upper House in 1987. Born on February 22, 1951 in Srinagar, Mr Gul is a Law Graduate. He was first elected as a Councillor in 1976. Sources said one of the reasons for the main Opposition, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for not fielding its candidate for the post of Speaker was that it had been given the post of Deputy Speaker by the ruling NC-Congress Alliance. Moreover, even the combined Opposition didn’t have number to get its candidate elected. Meanwhile, sources said most of the Opposition parties including the PDP, breakaway BJP faction, BJP, NPP and JSM have geared up to corner the Government on a host of issues right from the day one of the budget session of the Legislature, making the session stormy. The PDP Legislature Party tonight held a dinner meeting at the residence of former Chief Minister and party patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed here in which it finalised its strategy for the budget session. The PDP Legislature Party would meet again at 9.15 am tomorrow at Central Hall of Legislature to decide mode of protest during Governor’s Address to highlight the issue of Afzal Guru’s hanging and related issues. The PDP was likely to move adjournment motion in Assembly on Friday to discuss Guru’s hanging. The PDP reportedly decided to vociferously highlight the issue of 2001 Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru’s hanging and denial of the body to his family members. The killings of Sarpanchs and Panchs, leading to their resignations and fear psychosis among them and delay in holding elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Block Development Councils (BDCs) would also be raised by the PDP among other issues. Sources said the PDP and Independent MLA Engineer Abdul Rashid might raise the issue of Afzal Guru’s hanging and return of his body during the Governor’s Address. The BJP could counter them. The National Panthers Party (NPP) was likely to raise the issue of discrimination with Jammu region and delay in holding elections to Municipalities and Block Development Councils. Sources said a couple of Opposition parties were also planning to raise the issue of non-implementation of some of the promises made in last year’s Governor’s Address during his Address tomorrow. This could be last Address of Mr Vohra to joint session of the Legislature as his five years term as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir is expiring on June 25. As reported, NC-Congress joint meeting of the Legislature Parties would be held tomorrow at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s residence over dinner in which the two parties along with their allies and Independent candidates would devise strategy to counter the Opposition onslaught. “The Chief Minister has failed to save the life of Afzal Guru and then failed to bring his body back. He has insulted the chair and has turned the institution of CM ineffective”, Mehbooba Mufti, the PDP Legislature Party Leader said. She said that “corruption, arrests, killings and atrocities” are the main issues which people expect them to raise in the Assembly. People’s Democratic Front chairman Hakim Mohammad Yasin said that his party will raise all the issues pertaining to common people. “Unemployment, human rights violations and other genuine issues of the people will be raised in the interest of the people. We will demand the return of mortal remains of Guru”, said Yasin. When asked whether his party will join the voices of main opposition PDP, “No, why should I join their voices but yes I’ll raise the issues which are pertaining to common people”, he added. CPM leader M Y Tarigami said that he will raise and press the Government for the return of mortal remains of Guru, adding, “all other issues related to public interrest will be raised and the Government will be accountable on the floor of the House. It cannot shy away from its responsibilities”.