He was a journalist during the peak of his ‘wilderness’ days, so Bandipore lawmaker Nizam-ud-Din Bhat knows the worth of being in news. That is perhaps why he burns his midnight oil to create news.
The latest was his private member’s bill that he submitted to the state assembly seeking deletion of section 3 of the state constitution by virtue of which J&K is incorporated as India’s integral part. Talking to reporters he said it was a “must” for resolving the Kashmir “dispute”.
Explaining the motive, Bhat said: “While section 3 says the state of J&K is an integral part of Union of India, section 5 restricts executive and legislative powers of state legislature.” He said if there is sincerity in “our political utterances” that “Kashmir is a dispute then constitution should provide me the space to solve it.” Section 3 and 5 can be amended under the provisions and procedures detailed under section 147 of the state constitution.
As the TV channels picked up the copy, hell broke loose. It triggered a series of live discussions and his party – PDP was apparently caught unawares.
Immediately the party disassociated itself from the private members bill and went on record that there is no question of supporting it. Bhat, party spokesman Naeem Akhter said, has moved it in his individual capacity and without any prior knowledge to party leadership. He termed the development “unfortunate” but insisted the party has not yet sought any explanation from Bhat. “It is not our policy to question accession,” Akthar made it amply clear.
Opposing PDP for moving the bill, Congress spokesman, Ravinder Sharma said that as per provision of section 147 of state constitution no bill seeking amendment to Section 3 and Section 5 of J&K constitution can be introduced or moved, as per provision of the state constitution. While PDP managed safe passage for itself, it kicked the ball towards the office of Speaker Mohammad Akber Lone for allowing the bill. A day after came speaker’s verdict. He rejected the bill.
“I had moved the bill in good faith. I don’t know why it created controversy,” Bhat was quoted saying. In fact, he had been informed by assembly secretariat that the bill is admitted and after the controversy he was told that it is reject because there was an oversight last time.
Bhat got enough of coverage for three days. It also identified the grey areas that lawmakers can use if and when they require. But, at the same time, there is a parallel debate going on about the possible gains and losses, off the newspaper front pages, in the political parties of Kashmir. But this proved beyond doubt that Bhat loves controversies regardless of the self goals that these eventually trigger.