Speaker Faces Music, Accused of Being Partisan

JAMMU: Kashmir assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta on Tuesday assured the House that he will ensure staying away from political party meetings involving the House. This was in response to the accusations by opposition that he was part of a meeting of the ruling coalition has arranged to devise counter strategy for tackling opposition.  He said he will avoid repeating it.

Gupta, a BJP lawmaker, who presides over the Kashmir assembly, had attended a dinner meeting of the ruling coalition that was supposed to devise a strategy in wake of opposition insisting on certain issues, bypassing the routine of the House. Opposition said that given his neutral status and presiding officer of the House Gupta should have avoided this.

“You have proved that your are a member of the ruling coalition and not the Speaker of the House,” Congress lawmaker Rigzin Jora said. “You have resorted to these spectacles quite often.”

Accusing Gupta of breaking the traditions, NC member Ali Mohammad Sagar said that the lawmakers have frequently voiced the concern that the Speaker was avoiding to prove himself neutral and was increasingly proving himself to be the member of the BJP. “You should not have been part of that meeting in which it was discussed how to manage opposition,” Sagar said.

Hakeem Yasin told the house that since the lawmakers are meeting for the first time in the House that is so important to people, they have every right to take up issues. “If you are not permitting the members to speaker here, where should they go,” Yasin said. “Once we take up, you start the process of tackles the members and it was on such meeting in which you proved that you are not neutral.”

Communist lawmaker Yousuf Tragami in his peculiar style literally disarmed the Speaker. “You are a member of party and you have your own ideology,” Tarigami said. “But you are holding a position that is paramount and its presiding officer has to be neutral.” Tarigami said that the parties and the government are quite dwarfed institutions before the position of the Speaker who is the custodian of a House in which diverse political parties exist and operate. “We suggest the best practices but it is up to you to accept it or not but I will insist that your participation in the meeting was unprecedented,” Targimai said, adding that the House is not any party’s fief.

Apparently in order to prevent further discussions on the issue, Speaker Gupta took the acceptance route. “I  had gone to that dinner meeting and I should not have gone,” Speaker said. “I accept and I assure the House that I will tae care in future .” This ended the debate and led to the start of the question hour

Speaker Kavinder Gupta has been visible and vocal on various issues outside the assembly and it had led the opposition members to believe that he was compromising the neutral position that he was holding. Though they have been accusing him of this for a long time, they were able to establish it last week when Gupta attended a ruling coalition meeting arranged to devise strategy to prevent opposition from taking over the House.

A similar situation emerged into the State Legislative Council where the NC and Congress members entered into the well of the House. They were accusing the Chairman of attending the same meeting Gupta was accused of. After lot of pandemonium, he said he had gone for a s different purpose and was not part of the meeting the members were referring to. Naeem Akhter also reacted to the opposition allegation.

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