BJP MLA swears in Vaishno Devi's name

Greater Kashmir

13 Members Take Oath In Dogri

Jammu, Jan 20: Uproar marked the first day in Legislative Assembly during the oath ceremony today when the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party members interrupted BJP MLA Ashok Khajuria, who began swearing in the name of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi.
 The moment Khajuria started taking oath in Dogri as, ‘Mein Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji ko hazir nazir mankay (I swear in the name of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji)…,’ the NC and PDP MLAs created uproar and termed it unconstitutional.
 Khajuria, however, said he had faith in the goddess and wanted to swear in her name, but the NC, PDP leaders did not agree. They later agreed when Khajuria finally altered his swearing words and said, ‘Mein parmatma ji ko…(I swear in the name of Almighty).’
 The MLA while raising fingers towards the NC-PDP members said, ‘’Are you satisfied now?’’ Wearing saffron turbans, all 11 members of the BJP took oath in Dogri.
 It is for the second time after 2002 and for the first time after the language was recognized in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution that 13 MLAs took oath in Dogri.
 The trend was started by Youth National Panthers Party president and MLA Udhampur Balwant Singh Mankotia who took oath in Dogri in 2002. This time the trend was followed by saffron brigade MLAs.
 BJP Legislature Party leader in the Assembly Prof Chaman Lal Gupta was the first to take the oath in Dogri and was followed by Yashpal Kundal and Balwant Singh Mankotia. After this all the MLAs of BJP took oath in Dogri.
 While talking to Greater Kashmir after the oath ceremony, Balwant Singh Mankotia said that it was Panthers Party which started the tradition of taking oath in Dogri in the Legislative Assembly in the year 2002 despite tough opposition. “It was only after Speaker was made aware of the Section – 87 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir State, that I was allowed to take oath in Dogri,” he said.
 Mankotia expressed regret that though the Pro-tem Speaker Choudhary Mohammad Aslam was informed about the decision of Panthers Party to take oath in Dogri, which was also recognized in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution, Assembly staff did not provide format of oath in Dogri. “The Pro-tem Speaker failed to fulfill the genuine and constitutional demand of Panthers Party legislators,” he said.
 He expressed happiness over the decision of more than 12 MLAs to take oath in Dogri and hoped that the language would be provided its due by the state government.
 Mankotia said that for promotion of Dogri language, government should introduce Dogri at primary level so that more than 2000 post graduates could be accommodated in service and get gainful employment. He said that it was after long struggle by the people of Jammu that Dogri was included in the 8th schedule. “This is a good trend and now I hope the government will pay due attention to the development of Dogri and accommodate more than 2000 post graduates in various services,” he said. He alleged that the state government is not doing much for the promotion of Dogri in the state.
 However, the BJP MLAs looked it in a different way with the strong plea that with this they have shown their presence in the Assembly. “We have given a message that the voice of Jammu is in the Assembly with full strength and will watch the interest of the people of Jammu region,” said BJP State President Ashok Khajuria. He said that BJP would play a positive role of a healthy opposition in the Assembly.
 BJP Legislative party leader Prof Chaman Lal Gupta said that the oath taking in the regional languages indicated the wide awakening among a large section of MLAs. “It was a necessity of giving due recognition to their mother tongue,” he said.