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Nirmal Singh elected Assembly Speaker with ‘disputed consensus’


By Mudassir Kuloo

Srinagar, May 10: In an unprecedented move, the PDP-BJP on Thursday elected Nirmal Singh as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly “without following the rules”.
The government convened a short session of the Assembly to elect Singh, the former Deputy Chief Minister, as the speaker of the House.
As soon as the House started its proceedings at 2 PM, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Basharat Bukhari, moved the motion in the Assembly seeking his election to the post. Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta seconded the motion.
However, the opposition parties raised objections and claimed that no rules were followed.
“The House is divided over the election of the Speaker. The Speaker was always elected unanimously. So, there is a need to build consensus first,” Deputy Speaker, Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, said.
Following which, Gurezi adjourned the House for half an hour and was later extended it to about an hour.
As the House resumed its proceedings, Gurezi said there would not be any delay in electing the Speaker.
“It is not in the interest of the House to wait further and will be waste of time of the House. It is time of internet and everybody might have got to know about it,” he said.
On this, the opposition leaders started shouting.
“What are you saying? There is no internet in the valley. We live in a stone age,” they shouted.
The opposition had nominated Congress legislator, Usman Majeed, as their candidate for the position. He name had been proposed by MLA Abdul Majid Bhat (Larmi).
Following which, members of PDP-BJP and its allies voted in support of the motion and elected Singh as the Speaker, while the opposition legislators barring Mian Altaf, M Y Tarigami, Er Rasheed, staged a walkout.
After the election, Singh was walked to the Speaker’s chair by Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Basharat Bukhari, Minister for Urban Development, Sat Pal Sharma, Deputy Speaker, Nazir Gurezi, Legislators, Mian Altaf, M Y Tarigami, Er Abdul Rasheed among other members.
Addressing the House, Singh urged all the members to cooperate with him in conducting the house in an impartial manner. He said that Jammu and Kashmir full of diversities and at the same time full of challenges as well.
“This House has a greater role to address the diversities and challenges of the State,” he said.
“I assure you that I will rise up to the expectations of the members of the house and we will work in close coordination,” he added.
He complimented the role of the former Speaker and current Deputy Chief Minister, Kavinder Gupta for his ‘unbiased’ role in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
Chief Minister felicitated Dr Singh on being elected Speaker of the House.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Urban Development, Sat Pal Sharma lauded the role of Dr Singh as Deputy Chief Minister. He hoped that Singh would play his role as Speaker with utmost dedication and commitment.
Gurezi extended his best wishes to the new speaker, saying that he is hopeful that Singh would come up to the expectations of representatives of the assembly and would run the affairs of the assembly smoothly.
He also applauded the contribution of former speaker Kavinder Gupta and said that former speaker also run affairs of the assembly smoothly and his contribution would always be remembered.
MLA Kangan Mian Altaf Ahmad hoped that Singh would come up to the expectations of the opposition parties. He assured that his party will extend full support to the speaker in running the house smoothly.
Extending congratulations to new Speaker, legislator, Rajesh Gupta said that he is hopeful that Dr Singh would perform the new assignment with the same enthusiasm as he performed as deputy Chief Minister of the state.
Legislator, MY Yousuf Tarigami, on the occasion said that Dr Singh has a great responsibility to run the assembly smoothly and he is hopeful that he would run the assembly as per rules and regulations. He said that both the ruling and opposition parties would extend his support to speaker maintain the sanctity of the assembly.
Legislator, Engineer Abdul Rasheed while congratulating the newly appointed Speaker, said that the responsibilities have doubled for him with the new assignment. He said that the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has a special privilege in the country and the members and the Speaker should uphold the sanctity of the House.