Furore in Assembly over CM Outreach Program, allotment of discretionary funds

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Jan 12: There was furore in the Lower House  as  the Congress Legislature Party Leader, Nawang Rigzin Jora accused the Chief Minister of  distributing  discretionary funds adopting  pick and choose  through defeated candidates during her Public Outreach Programmes.
“On the name of Public Outreach Programme, Chief Minister is distributing funds through the party workers and defeated BJP candidates bypassing elected representatives and District Development Boards,” he said while participating in discussion on the Budget recommendation in the Lower House today.
As the BJP MLAs, including Choudhary Sukhnandan, R S Pathania, Shakti Parihar, PDP MLA Anjum Fazli and some other Members on Treasury benches took strong exception to the allegations, Congress MLA Usman Majid, Altaf Kalloo of National Conference and some other Opposition members came in defence of Rigzin Jora leading to heated exchange of words and subsequent commotion in the House. The agitated BJP MLAs dared Mr Jora to be specific and nominate the defeated candidates, who have been allotted the funds.
However, several opposition Members strongly defended Jora and claimed that they were also victim of this pick and choose.  Usman Majid was most vociferous and agitated reiterating that he was not informed about the CM outreach Programme in his constituency while ruling party workers were authorized for distribution of funds.
Usman Majid claimed that he has lists of such ruling party workers and defeated candidates, who have been authorized for spending of public money while BJP members asked him to nominate such persons. “I have the list of such persons and I can show you the same. I had informed about this earlier also in the House,” Usman Majid said.
Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, who was in the Chair,  had to intervene and reprimand  Usman Majid for vociferous interruptions by the later even when the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, A R Veeri was making a statement for clarification with regard to the  CM Outreach Programme and distribution of additional funds for public works.
Veeri sought to clarify that the Chief Minister’s Outreach Programme was a commendable step to reach to people for listening to their grievances and ensuring quick redressal of  the same.  He also stressed that there was no downgrading of the District Development Boards, which were functioning as per norms and precedence.
Nawang Rigzin Jora, in his address while taking part in the discussion, expressed concern over the negative portrayal of Kashmir outside the State and claimed that Maharashtra and Gujarat had issued an unofficial advisory to their people not to go to J&K because of the turmoil in the Valley.
“The situation will improve and Tourism  revive only the coalition partners will   talk in one voice,” he said while making a reference of  PDP MLA’s  yesterday statement of describing militants as martyrs and demand of BP for registration of FIR against the coalition partner Legislator.
Accusing the Government of playing farce with the daily wagers, the Congress MLA demanded strong initiatives to deal with the concern of growing unemployment in the State in future. He also observed that there has been decline in the overall contribution of GDP from Primary sectors, including Agriculture as it has witnessed downfall in past and no mention has been made about the growth of agriculture in the State.