BJP, Panthers, JSM walkout in LA: Panchayats’ empowerment, Model villages

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 3/18/2013 11:32:26 PM

JAMMU, Mar 18: The Legislative Assembly today witnessed a spree of walkouts during Question Hour and this continued till two legislators of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) staged a walkout in protest against the unusual suspension of their party colleague Balwant Singh Mankotia by the Speaker Mubarak Gul.
Bharatiya Janaya Party, JKNPP and Jammu State Morcha (JSM) legislators separately as well as jointly staged walkouts on the issues of empowerment of Panchayats, security cover to Panches and Sarpanches and `discrimination’ in sanctioning of model villages.
On the fourteenth day of the budget session too, the tradition to begin Question Hour amid commotion was maintained unfailingly.
To begin with, it was the issue of empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), which was picked up by the agitating members of Jammu-based opposition
JKNPP MLA Balwant Singh Mankotia, while waving a local newspaper, raised the issue. The member was concerned over the input that the government panel, constituted to study provisions of 73rd Constitutional amendment to be incorporated in J&K Panchayati Raj Act, had opposed the recommendation about elected Chairman and Vice Chairman for District Planning Boards.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and party’s state president Jugal Kishore Sharma along with his party colleagues too joined the cause.
He questioned as why the provisions of 73rd constitutional amendment were not being implemented in the state to ensure real empowerment of Panchayats. Referring to the press conference of All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference on Sunday, Jugal also raised the issues of security cover and inadequate honorarium of Panches and Sarpanches. “They are being denied real empowerment. Panchayaton Ki Poonji Aapkey Paas Hai…(You are depriving them of their due, both in terms of power as well as money),” Jugal said.
JSM MLA Ashwani Kumar Sharma also endorsed his point and demanded that Panchayats be fully empowered.
Jugal, his party colleagues Ashok Khajuria and Sham Chowdhary, again shouted, “This is fraud. This government is deceiving them and committing a fraud upon them.”
During this period, the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ali Mohammed Sagar intervened at least twice or thrice saying that the recommendations of high level committee for amendment in 73 Panchayati Raj Act were under examination of Law department and after receiving the same would be submitted to the cabinet.
“These are just recommendations and have not been implemented yet. Bill was not presented yet,” he stated.
The minister also informed that honorarium to the members of Panchayat Adalats too was under consideration of the government.
However the members continued to create uproar and in the din, BJP members staged a walkout at 10.08 AM, the first walkout of the day.
While this din was on, CPI (M) MLA M Y Tarigami pointed towards the absence of the main opposition party (PDP) and urged the chair to convene Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meet to bring the party back in the House. “There may be differences in viewpoints but in democratic structure, you need to accommodate all shades,” he stated while advocating the process to ensure PDP’s return ending its boycott.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on March 13 had announced to boycott the rest of budget session in protest against Union Home Minister’s denial to return Afzal Guru’s body.
On this account, the Speaker Mubarak Gul stated that he had convened the meeting same day and had also invited PDP. Besides Harsh and Tarigami were given responsibility to talk to them (PDP) to end their boycott.
Upon this JKNPP MLA Harsh Dev Singh intervened saying that the government needed to talk to them (PDP).
Following this, Ashwani sought ex-gratia for the family of a PHE employee, who recently died of electrocution after he came in contact with High Tension (HT) wire in his constituency in Bishnah. Mankotia expressed concern over felling of trees in different parts of the state.
By then, the Question Hour too was resumed with the very first question of Harsh regarding development of model villages. As the issue of model villages cropped up, the members of BJP, Panthers and JSM yet again got agitated. They accused the government of resorting to discrimination in the sanctioning of model villages and ignoring border areas.
Soon the slogans “R S Pura Kay Saath Insaaf Karo”, “Border Areas Kay Saath Insaaf Karo” started rending the air. Amid slogans accusing the government of being biased in sanctioning the model villages, first Panthers walked out of the House at 10.34 AM and after creating uproar for some time, BJP, JSM members too walked out of the House at 10.36 AM.
The members belonging to the group of Jammu West MLA Prof Chaman Lal Gupta were not present in the House that time.
Fourth walkout was staged by JKNPP MLA Balwant Singh Mankotia after he was not allowed by the Speaker to raise all his supplementaries related to a question of PDF MLA Hakeem Mohammed Yaseen pertaining to Power Development Department (PDD). The Speaker had allowed him to raise his question as supplementary yet Mankotia insisted to raise his other supplementaries. When not allowed, he walked out tearing the reply paper in his hand and tossing in the well towards reporters’ table at 10. 57 AM.
The Speaker took offense to his action and ordered to suspend him for the day. In protest against this decision, Mankotia’s party colleagues Harsh and Yashpal Kundal too staged a walkout at 10.59 AM.

 

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