Jammu: The JK Legislative Assembly Speaker, Kavinder Gupta, on Tuesday accepted that he had committed a mistake by participating in a meet of PDP and BJP legislators held in the winter capital on January 4 to discuss the “strategy” to counter the opposition in the ongoing budget session.
Soon after the lower house of the legislature met, opposition legislators rose from their seats and cornered Gupta for his alleged partisan role in the House.
The Congress MLA from Leh, Nawang Rigzin Jora, led the opposition assault and sought apology from the Speaker. “You are speaker of one party,” he told Gupta. “The seat you are holding is neutral, but you have proved partisan in your role as a speaker.”
Creating a ruckus during Question Hour, opposition members demanded an apology.
Addressing the Speaker, Ali Mohammad Sagar of the National Conference said, “We had expressed apprehension during all-party meeting, and the same has come true that we are seeing a biased speaker in the House.”
Sagar said that it was unprecedented in the history of J&K that an Assembly speaker and Legislative Council chairman would participate in meetings of legislators to discuss the strategy to counter the opposition.
“You rejected our adjournment motion to that day and in the evening you participated in the PDP-BJP meeting, which is unprecedented,” Sagar remarked. However, Gupta insisted it was not any “strategy meeting”.
Joining the opposition, Independent legislator Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen told the Speaker, “We are meeting here after one year and have lot of issues… killing of police and others… power crisis to discuss, but you are not proving to be a speaker of this House but that of the coalition government.” Continuing he said, “You had told us that no one will come into the well in protest for you will give ample opportunity to everyone, but that is not happening.”
In his speech, Communist legislator M Y Tarigami said that everyone, from both the opposition as well as the treasury benches, had the right to talk and present their statements. “Parties are smaller before Speaker’s seat… Your ideology is ok, but until and unless you are holding it, you are presiding officer of this house and you have to work in a non-partisan way,” Tarigami told the Speaker, Gupta. “It is your responsibility to save the decorum of this seat.”
Responding to the allegations of the opposition, Gupta in a brief statement said, “If opposition members think I have done wrong by joining the (PDP-BJP) meeting, I accept the mistake and I won’t do it in future.”