Holiday row: BJP legislator’s cry fades away in din

A legislator from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was left alone in the legislative council while voicing his demand for a holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.

Soon after the House met this morning, Ajatshatru Singh, the grandson of Hari Singh, sought to know about a resolution adopted in the House on declaring Hari Singh’s birthday as holiday in Jammu and Kashmir.

In the upper house, where the Bhartiya Janata Party enjoys majority for the first time in the legislative history of Jammu and Kashmir, none of the eight BJP members present supported Ajatshatru. The BJP’s member-base in the upper house is 11.

“Sir, this House has passed a resolution last year and admitted to declare birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh as holiday. You may be aware that on September 23 last year, the entire Jammu protested for the same but the government prefers to ignore the voice of the region. I want to know the status of that resolution,” he said, pointing towards the chairman, Haji Anayat Ali.

However, Ali emphasised that the members should raise their issues after the Question Hour and asked Ajatshatru to sit down.

He however retorted and said: “It’s not just an issue; it puts a question mark on the credibility of this House. If this House adopted a resolution, the government is duty-bound to adhere to it in letter and spirit. It is the right of the House to question the government and know why it is not declaring Hari Singh’s birthday as a holiday despite accepting the resolution.”

No BJP member stood up to support their colleague, until he sought the support.

Sitting in the front row with Ashok Khajuria, Ajatshatru asked the party’s chief whip Ramesh Arora and other BJP legislators to support him.

After his request, Arora, Surinder Ambardar, Pardeep Sharma and Khajuria stood for merely two minutes and then continued to gossip.

Shatru was visually seen fuming with the gesture of his colleagues but tried his best to grab attention of the chairman and leader of the House Naeem Akhtar for first 10 minutes.

However, due to uproar by opposition members, his single voice faded away and failed to make any impact.

“It’s not fair. We passed a resolution here and now it’s our responsibility to make a follow-up. The government seems in no mood to entertain it,” he said and staged first walkout from the House at 11.12 am.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Ajatshatru said: “It feels bad when you don’t get support from your own party members. I don’t know why they remained silent. The party has to answer and take a call.”

“I am not fighting for it (holiday) because he (Hari Singh) is my grandfather. I took up this issue because he contributed a lot for the development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding: “The BJP got 25 seats in Jammu only because Prime Minister Narendra Modi evoked Maharaja Hari Singh during his ‘lalkar rally’ here.”

“Modi spoke for around 15 to 20 minutes on the contributions of Maharaja Hari Singh and also promised to the people that BJP will declare his birthday as holiday if it forms the government. But unfortunately we forget things when we come to power,” he said, taunting his party for remaining mute in the House.

He also asked the government to have a review of public holidays.

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