Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly’s Budget Session here ended on a bitter note as opposition Congress, NC and CPI(M) members, barring one MLA, walked out from the House, accusing the Speaker Kavinder Gupta of being biased.
Opposition members except National Conference (NC) MLA Mohammad Akbar Lone walked out of the House amid Gupta’s concluding remarks, alleging that the speaker was acting like a spokesman of the government, the BJP and the RSS.
Lone, whose ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan on Saturday led to an uproar in the House, remained seated as his colleagues along with CPI(M) MLA M Y Tarigami and Congress members walked out.
Interrupting the speaker during his speech, Tarigami said “I am requesting that you are not a presiding officer of a particular party. The budget was passed by the House and there is no need to repeat it.”
“The speaker is the custodian of the house and should behave like a non-party person,” he said.
Congress Legislature party leader Nawang Rigzin Jora also reacted sharply and asked the speaker “not to behave like he spokesman of the government.”
Later talking to reporters outside the House, NC general secretary and MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar said that the speaker had vindicated his party’s apprehension that he was “biased and acting like a member of BJP and RSS” which he should not.
“Being a speaker he should be very impartial and it should look from his actions. His speech in the House was like he was reading the agenda of the the BJP and RSS. Naturally, we have no course but to walk out to lodge our strong protest against the speaker,” he said.
However, the NC leader supported the speech of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that dialogue with Pakistan is the only way forward.
Sagar said that she was right in saying that those who talk about dialogue are dubbed as “anti-national” which is wrong.
“She endorsed the statement of (NC president) Farooq Abdullah and (NC working president) Omar Abdullah that dialogue is the way forward and nothing will be achieved by killings, operations and crackdowns.
“It is the stand and agenda of the party that dialogue holds the key for honourable solution of Kashmir issue,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, the speaker said he felt honoured to be given the post after getting elected for the first time.
“I made a sincere effort to uphold to fulfil my responsibility which you all know,” Gupta said.
He read out a message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought support for various reforms and central initiatives to ensure ‘Sab ka saath, Sab ka vikas’
Gupta also hailed Mehbooba as the first woman chief minister of the state and talked about the initiatives her government has taken to counter the proxy war and carry forward the developmental projects.