Opposition protests in LA, LC over dinner meeting issue

JAMMU, Jan 9: Oppos-ition members in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Legislative Council raised slogans against the Speaker and the Chairman for taking part in a dinner meeting of the PDP-BJP coalition government, disrupting the proceedings in both Houses.
As the Assembly met for the day, all opposition members stood up and raised the issue of Speaker Kavinder Gupta taking part in the dinner meeting hosted by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last week and alleged that he had lowered the sanctity of the House.
They resorted to protests over the issue and sought reply from the Speaker.
The members walked into the well of the House and created ruckus amid high-pitched noisy scenes and disrupted the Question Hour.
In the Legislative Council too, opposition NC and Congress members staged a walkout from the House over the Chairman attending the dinner meeting.
Leader of Congress Legislative Party Nawang Rigzin Jora said in Assembly, “You (Speaker) are not the Speaker of the government or the BJP but of the entire House. You should not have taken part in the meeting of the coalition government. We want your reply.”
He was seconded by CPI(M) MLA M Y Tarigami.
“It is not a simple issue which can be brushed aside. It is the issue involved with sanctity of the House…It should not be compromised,” Tarigami said.
NC MLA Mubarak Gul, who was the Speaker during the previous Congress-NC rule, said the sanctity of the House had been compromised.
NC MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar said, “It is unprecedented. This has not happened in the past.”
After over half-an-hour of protests and sloganeering, the Speaker replied to the opposition and said that he had taken part in the dinner and if it was wrong, he would not repeat it. With this, the House was restored to calm and the Question Hour began.
Opposition members also walked into well of the Legislative Council and raised slogans against the Chairman.
After noisy protests and sloganeering, Minister Naeem Akhtar intervened and urged Chairman Haji Anayat Ali to reply to the opposition to end the stalemate.
Ali said he had gone there not to take part in the meeting, but to meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over an invitation to take part in an event to mark the death anniversary of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed.
So there was no question of compromising sanctity of the House, Ali said.
Not satisfied with the reply, NC and Congress members staged a walkout from the House.
The Chairman later requested the opposition members to come back to their seats and they came back.
The Chairman later said that he would not take part in any such meeting in the future.