CM chairs meet to discuss budget session ‘strategy’

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a meeting of alliance partners PDP, BJP and Peoples Conference on Wednesday evening in Jammu to discuss the “strategy” on countering the opposition during the ongoing budget session of the legislature.

All ministers and MLAs from PDP, BJP and Peoples Conference including deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh attended the dinner-cum-meeting.

“We haven’t done anything wrong and if the opposition wants a discussion on any issue we are ready for it,” a source quoted Mehbooba as saying during the meeting.

The meeting took place after the opposition created a ruckus in the Assembly, demanding a discussion on civilian killings that took place during 2017 in Kashmir. Following the protests and a walkout by the entire opposition, the speaker reversed his earlier decision to disallow motion for discussion on civilian killings. He later announced that the discussion will be allowed.

“There is no need to be on the back-foot. We will allow discussion on all issues,” she told the meeting that lasted for one hour.

During the meeting, it was emphasised upon all members of both the Houses to attend the session regularly and ensure coordination on the floor of the House.

The meeting also laid stress on the members of coalition partners to support each other and highlight the “achievements” of the government.

The members were also cautioned not to criticise individual ministers or the government, a trend that was often visible during the previous two sessions when members from both PDP and BJP would take on the government on a range of issues.

“All issues pertaining to smooth functioning of the budget session were discussed in the meeting. We are not averse to discussion on issues pertaining to people and their problems but at the same time we will not allow anybody to hijack the House and create drama for mere sake of it,” said a senior PDP minister.    

Meanwhile, speaker legislative assembly Kavinder Gupta and chairman legislative council Haji Anayat Ali, who hold constitutional posts, on Wednesday attended dinner-meeting of PDP-BJP coalition partners that was chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to discuss strategy for ongoing budget session.

A source said that presence of both Speaker and Chairman surprised a few members from both the parties since positions of the speaker and the chairman are independent of the parties they belong to. While Gupta had won 2014 Assembly election on BJP ticket from Jammu, Ali won from Ladakh on PDP ticket.

The source said that both Speaker and chairman however didn’t speak during the meeting which lasted for one hour.

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