Srinagar: Four days ahead of the beginning of the Budget Session, Speaker of JK Legislative Assembly Kavinder Gupta chaired an all-party meeting in Jammu where he was told to be impartial while conducting the assembly.
Sources said that during the 90-minute meeting, Opposition parties asked Gupta to lead the House “not as member of a particular party”.
“It was impressed upon the Speaker that the sanctity of the House should be maintained,” sources told Kashmir Reader.
The sources said all opposition parties expressed dissatisfaction over the way the government had dissolved the last assembly session in Srinagar.
“The last session was adjourned sine die in a hush-hush manner and the Speaker was told that it was not the way the House is run,” sources said.
A legislator who was part of the meeting said, “There is a Business Advisory Committee (BAC) which looks into issues of the House but the government just went ahead and got the session adjourned because it did not want to be answerable to issues of the people.”
Thursday’s meeting was attended by PDP’s Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri, PDP legislators Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Sat Paul Sharma, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat and Rajesh Gupta.
The legislator who spoke to Kashmir Reader said that the opposition members referred to how the “Autumn session of the assembly was eaten away in just a few days”.
“They called that GST session for some days and no other business was discussed,” the legislator said that the Speaker was told.
Sources said the Speaker was asked “to take these things into consideration and behave as a custodian of the house and not as representative of a single party”.
Further, the legislator said, the opposition members expressed dissatisfaction over the way ministers belie their own assurances given in the House.
“The way ministers back-track from their own assurances given on the floor of the House affects the expectation of people from this august House,” the speaker was told. “Tbe government must take these things into consideration and ensure sanctity of the House.”
An official spokesperson said that the Speaker assured that equal opportunities would be provided to each political party to raise issues of public importance.
Seeking cooperation from senior legislators to run the session smoothly, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs assured in the meeting that the government would extend full cooperation to the Opposition members during the session and provide them sufficient time. “He urged the Speaker to consider the genuine suggestions of the legislators, particularly related to public issues,” the spokesperson said.
“The legislators of all Political Parties present in the meeting assured the Speaker to extend full cooperation to run the House in a cordial manner. They expressed their hope that the Speaker will take all necessary steps to make the business of the House fruitful,” the spokesperson said.
Sources in the assembly secretariat said that, so far, 25 private bills have been submitted in the assembly. “There are around 100 private resolutions as well, and there are 37 old bills,” sources said. “There will be proper balloting to select the bills to be taken up during the session.”
Sources said that an independent MLA has submitted a private member bill seeking a law for making elementary education compulsory in J&K, at par with the law of Government of India (GoI). Elementary education is not compulsory in the state as yet.
Sources said that the assembly secretariat has received another bill seeking three sessions of J&K Assembly at par with the Parliament of India. “The bill seeks 100 days of business in the House,” they said.
Another bill suggests that a cess should be created for the welfare of artisans of J&K state. “The bill suggests that a cess – a joint fund – be raised from different corporate houses and the money be given to artisans, who are in need, to meet expenses of scholarships and other challenging problems,” the sources said.
Legislators also suggested during the meeting that the reply to starred and un-starred questions be provided to all the Members well in advance so that they can prepare themselves for raising supplementary questions, if any.