GST Row: Acrimonious scenes in the twin Kashmir House

File image of Er Rasheed being marshaled out from the assembly.

SRINAGAR: As the state legislative assembly and the council started debating the extension of the new tax regime, acrimonious scenes and pandemonium dominated the twin houses. Verbal blows were visible in both the houses.

While the assembly exhibited Engineer Rasheed versus BJP, for most of the time, the Council was NC versus PDP.

It was almost half an hour ahead of the conclusion of the sitting that Engineer Rashid started reaction to certain things by a PDP lawmaker Javed Ahmad Beig. He was up and shouting seeking plebiscite and reciting certain couplets that angered the BJP. He told a BJP lawmaker that they should not forgot Shama Prasad Mukherjee.

Though Speaker Kavinder Gupta tried to cool the tempers and the treasury benches were also keen to manage the crisis unfolding in the house, Rasheed was unwilling to oblige any of them. Finally marshals were asked to take him out of the house. As the marshals started implementing the order, NC lawmaker Abdul Majeed Larmi interrupted and prevented his marshaling out.

Speaker watching that his orders are being interrupted found it better to announce the adjournment. However, in the melee, one assembly staffer fell unconscious and was moved out.

Rasheed intervention came at a time when NC leader and former minister Mohammad Shafi Urvi was making a speech. From the opposition side, it was Urvi who spoke for most of the time. Initially, his point was seeking an explanation from the Speaker about under which rules was the resolution permitted to be tabled.

His questions were pointed: There are only two rules in the constitution that permit a resolution to be tabled and the contents of the resolution tabled by the Finance Minister does not fall under that. His point was that if the government has committed a mistake, it can amend the resolution. The speaker disagreed. He said under a particular section, his wisdom cannot be challenged. Eventually it was Law Minster who said the resolution was permitted by the Speaker under section 176.

Earlier Communist lawmaker Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said though he is not raising any question on the intentions of the Finance Minister but he still wishes to know which kind of “modifications” he is seeking in the Amendment 101 of the constitution of India that will he wants to be extended to the state.

In his brief intervention, Congress man Rigzin Jora wanted to know how the amendments in the state constitution can be super imposed. “We have section 3 that bridges us with the government of India and we have section 5 that gives us authority to use the powers we have in the state,” Jora said. “And then there is section 12 that prevents any change in the section and 3 and 5. I do not know what this kind of change is being brought about?”

These questions were in response to the brief introductory speech by finance minister who said the government is keen to have a serious and sincere discussion so that adequate safeguards would be made to protect the autonomy and the exclusive constitutional position. He said the government will consider all the suggestions the lawmakers will make.

Later Urvi talked in detail about the constitutional losses the changes will eventually lead to. It was during his second intervention that the Rasheed versus BJP issue led to the adjournment of the house. He said the GST will make the smaller states “like municipalities”.

In the upper house, there were acrimonious scenes between the coalition treasury benches and the opposition. The lawmakers used the choicest words but nothing much was heard in the pandemonium.


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