Srinagar: The National Conference-Congress coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir will face another test of its floor management with security and empowerment of Panchayat members likely to figure prominently during the autumn session of the state Legislature beginning tomorrow.
The two parties, which have been ruling the state in a coalition since January 2009, are at loggerheads over the implementation of 73rd amendment of the constitution of India in the state.
While Congress leaders, including JKPCC chief Saif-ud-Din Soz, maintain that empowerment of the panchayats cannot be complete without implementing the 73rd amendment, National Conference has claimed that it was not needed as the spirit of the Parliament Act had already been incorporated in the state’s Panchayati Act of 1989.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has submitted a Private Members’ bill in the Assembly for
“democratisation” of Panchayats and devolution of more powers to the grass root level representatives.
Ruling National Conference has said Assembly rules do not permit taking up PDP MLA Peerzada Mansoor Hussain’s bill during the current session but the Chief spokesman of the opposition party Nayeem Akhtar said it was submitted as per rules in due time.
Sources in the Assembly secretariat said the bill will not be taken up for discussion as the Speaker has rejected it.
The bill was received eight days after the deadline of September 10, they added.
According to Rule 65 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the J-K state Legislature, the Private Members’ bill has to be submitted 30 days prior to the commencement of session, unless the Speaker allows the motion to be made at a shorter notice.
National Conference is likely to find itself isolated on the matter in the Assembly as its ally has been spearheading the campaign and will find support from opposition parties including the BJP, which has 11 members in Assembly.
This will be the biggest test of the coalition government’s floor management yet as the two parties have publicly taken divergent stands. Last year, the resolution seeking clemency for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, submitted by independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid, had given a hard time to the ruling coalition.
The security of panchayat members will also figure prominently in the coming session as four of them have been killed by militants since the landmark elections were held last year in the state after a gap of over three decades.
National Conference and its main rival PDP have pointed accusing fingers at each other over the issue of security.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said while the killings of the four Panchayat members was the handiwork of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen. But he also said some of the threats issued to the panches and sarpanches could have been due to political rivalry or clash of business interests.
“Are the defeated candidates happy about the outcome of the panchayat elections? Some people did not take part in these elections due to fear. Would not they want to seek another opportunity to get it?” Omar said during a press conference following killing of Panchayat member Mohammad Shafi Teli in Baramulla district last week.
PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beig hit back and pointed accusing finger at the National Conference saying most of the defeated candidates were affiliated to National Conference and the killings have taken place where the opposition backed candidates had swept the polls.
The panchayat polls were held on non-partisan basis.
Among other issues likely to dominate the proceedings will be the price hike in fuel and other essential commodities. The cap on LPG cylinders to the domestic consumers will also be raised.