Riyaz Ul Khaliq
Jammu and Kashmir Lawmakers on Thursday resented Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti skipping second day of 2016-17 budget session.
Speaker Kavinder Gupta set the ball rolling early this morning paying tributes to six former J&K lawmakers, besides Balram Jakhar and P A Sangma, who passed away since assembly met last time in October.
“We are here paying tributes to my, our and J&K’s former CM late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,” Langate lawmaker Er Sheikh Rasheed said, “but it is unfortunate that incumbent CM Ms Mehbooba is absent today.”
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, born in 1936, breathed his last on January 07, 2016 in AIIMS in New Delhi. He headed PDP-BJP government for over nine months before being succeeded by his daughter and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Ms Mehbooba Mufti.
Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti did not attend assembly on Thursday.
“Late Mufti was not only CM but father of the current CM who should have cancelled all her engagements and attended today’s obituary reference,” Rasheed said.
National Conference veteran and MLA Uri led the obituary references paying tributes to deceased lawmakers. Congress’ G M Saroori, MY Tarigami, Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen, Naeem Akhtar, BJP’s Sat Pal Sharma, Peoples Conference’s Bashir Ahmad Dar, and Er Rasheed were others to follow.
In his tributes, PC’s Bashir Ahmad Dar, who represents Kupwara constituency, credited late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for “getting PC close to BJP and PDP”. “There were differences,” he said in his reference, “but when we met Mufti sahab, we understood each other and it was because of his vision that we came into the fold (Unionist politics).”
As Dar was speaking and detailing how PC joined government, he was continuously ridiculed by Opposition lawmakers from NC and Congress. “Mufti sahab wanted to bridge the gaps, get hearts closer and it will happen only when we meet, interact and understand each other,” Dar added.
After Congress’ G M Saroori paid tributes to late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Balram Jakhar (Ex-J&K Governor) and PA Sangma (Ex-Lok Sabha Speaker) he named Choudhary Lal Singh, mistakenly. The house burst into laughter. He soon corrected himself and addressed the Forest Minister, “Aap ki Umar Bad Gaye” (Your life span increased).
Saroori was supposed to pay tributes to Choudhary Lal Mohammad Sabir.
After the house and people in gallery burst in laughter as Dar and opposition lawmakers engaged in word play, PDP’s Chadoora lawmaker, Javaid Mustafa Mir stood up and asked Speaker to maintain decorum of the house. “It is unfortunate,” he said addressing the chair, “it is for the first time that I am witnessing this insensitivity during obituary references.”
“We should talk of good things of those who passed away,” he said, “but this house is bursting into laughter which is very bad.”
To this, the opposition lawmakers said that they did not want obituary references to turn into political speeches. “Your Uri (Mohammad Shafi Uri) too did so,” the treasury benches responded. Uri in his obituary reference spoke in detail about late Mufti’s vision and PDP’s Self Rule and his party, NC’s Autonomy.
He even asked J&K BJP lawmakers to “change” their attitude viz-a-viz Kashmir as “Union Government too has shifted its focus on development. To Make his point, he referred to PM Narendra Modi’s recitation of Poet Mirza Ghalib’s Persian Couplet during his recent Iran tour.
Calm, unlike on day one, of the on-going budget session, Rasheed said, “there is no doubt that Mufti sahab was Indian by heart.” “Actually, he was Hindustan in himself,” he added quoting Dr Farooq Abdullah.
Lauding “conviction” of late Mufti, the Langate lawmaker said, “the only reason why Mufti sahab changed parties since his joining unionist politics was the national interests.”
Rasheed, who was precise in his obituary reference, said, “when militancy erupted in Kashmir in 1990s, everyone fled Kashmir be it Dr Farooq or others but Mufti again showed his distinct character when he joined Union Government as first Muslim Home Minister of India in 1989.”
Rasheed further said that when Mufti founded the PDP it “was demand of the times”.
Taking treasury benches head on for their “dual” nature, Rasheed in a sarcastic reference to Speaker’s obituary reference, addressed BJP lawmakers, “why are you scared of plebiscite word when Speaker too used it.” Speaker Kavinder Gupta read a long obituary reference of all the deceased lawmakers including Mohammad Khalil Jowhar who was part of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah led Plebiscite Movement.
He also referred to Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani saying, “we all have to die and this house will have to give long speeches in his honour when he isn’t around.”
Syed Ali Geelani won assembly elections from Sopore constituency three times on Jama’at-e-Islami ticket.