BJP Fumes As PDP Gives Away Post Of LC Dy Chairman To Cong

11 April 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In a dramatic turn of political events, the PDP-BJP Alliance today offered post of Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council to the Congress and proposed names of PDP first time MLC from Kargil Haji Inayat Ali as Chairman and Jehangir Hussain Mir, a second time MLC of Congress from Kargil as Deputy Chairman of the Upper House, the elections for which will be held tomorrow. Leader of House in Legislative Council and Education Minister Naeem Akhter, a veteran PDP leader has proposed names of Haji Inayat Ali and Jehangir Hussain Mir for the posts of Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Council. BJP MLC Romesh Arora seconded the names after senior BJP leader Ashok Khajuria refused to second name of the Congress MLC for the post of the Deputy Chairman. Official sources told the Excelsior that the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Council will be elected unanimously as only one name each has been proposed for the two posts and there was no opponent. Therefore, they said, there will be no election and both Inayat Ali and Jehangir Mir will be elected uncontested to the two posts. Sources admitted that there was strong resentment among State unit leaders of the BJP over the PDP decision to give post of the Deputy Chairman to the Congress as there was no such tradition in the State. Previously, NC-Congress had shared the two posts with veteran Congress leader Amrit Malhotra being the Chairman and National Conference leader Javed Rana as the Deputy Chairman. During PDP-Congress rule in 2002, PDP leader Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura (now Agriculture Minister) was the Chairman while Congress MLC Arvinder Singh Micky was the Deputy Chairman. 'Since the BJP high command has agreed to the PDP proposal, the State unit of BJP was left with no option but to second the proposal,' sources said. Amrit Malhotra had retired on March 27 while Javed Rana had ceased to be member of Legislative Council after his election as MLA from Mendhar. In 36 members Legislative Council, there were 34 members with PDP being largest party having 11 MLCs followed by BJP and NC eight each and Congress seven. Sources said the PDP decided in favour of Haji Inayat Ali as the party has no representative in the Council of Ministry from entire Ladakh region. Inayat Ali is an influential leader of Islamiya School Kargil though he had lost previous Assembly election on the PDP mandate from Kargil Assembly seat to Asgar Ali Karbalaie of Congress. Haji Inayat Ali had been elected as MLC in the election held to Legislative Council in March against seat reserved for Kargil. BJP, which too didn't have any MLA from Ladakh region, has made Chering Dorjey as Minister of State for Cooperatives with Independent Charge. Dorjey too had lost election from Leh to Congress leader Rigzin Jora but was made MLC by the BJP. Jehangir Hussain Mir of Congress, who will also be elected unanimously as Deputy Chairman of the Council, had won Poonch seat in the by-election and is member of the Upper House for second term. While Haji Inayat Ali has full six years term in the Council, Jehangir Mir has term till March 2017. He has been elected to the Upper House from a seat reserved for Poonch. PCC (I) president GA Mir and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in Council Jugal Kishore confirmed to the Excelsior that the ruling PDP had offered them the post of the Deputy Chairman just they had given post of the Deputy Speaker to the National Conference in Assembly. 'We accepted the offer and nominated Jehangir Hussain Mir, the senior most MLC for the post of the Deputy Chairman,' Mir said. However, the PDP decision immediately triggered resentment in the BJP, which took up the matter with a senior PDP functionary and the Cabinet Minister. The PDP functionary told the BJP leaders that the BJP high command has been taken into confidence and apprised about the decision to offer post of the Deputy Chairman to the Congress. Thereafter, sources said, the BJP was left with no option but to second the motion for election of Jehangir Mir as the Deputy Chairman of the Council. After retirement of Amrit Malhotra, the Governor had appointed Jehangir Mir as the officiating Chairman of the Council. Romesh Arora, who was nominated to the Council only a day before, seconded the motion after veteran BJP leader Ashok Khajuria refused to do so. Going by the tradition, the post of the Deputy Chairman was scheduled to go to the BJP. The State unit of the BJP had even shortlisted two names for the post. However, the PDP surprised its Alliance partners by offering post to the Congress. Sources said Jehangir Mir will act as officiating Chairman during special sitting of the Council at 11 am tomorrow to elect Haji Inayat Ali as the Chairman. As there will be no contest, Haji Inayat Ali will be elected unanimously to the post. The Haji will then conduct election of the Deputy Chairman. Jehangir Mir will also be elected to the Council unopposed. The BJP State unit was of the view that giving post of the Deputy Speaker to the National Conference was alright as this was the tradition being followed since 2002 when PDP-Congress coalition had offered the post to the NC and Mohammad Akbar Lone was elected as the Deputy Speaker. Keeping with the tradition, the NC-Congress coalition had in 2008 offered post of the Deputy Speaker to the PDP and Sartaj Madni was elected as the Deputy Speaker. On April 9, the last day of the Assembly, NC leader Nazir Gurezi was elected as the Deputy Speaker after PDP-BJP Alliance offered the post to the NC. However, the BJP leaders were of the view that the tradition of the Assembly had not been followed in the Legislative Council and, therefore, the PDP decision to give post to the Congress was not correct. But the State BJP leaders were rendered helpless after the PDP functionary conveyed to them that the BJP high command has been taken into confidence on the decision.