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PDP MLC refuses to take oath, party leaders boycott ceremony

Ties between Alliance partners suffer jolt

PDP MLC refuses to take oath, party leaders boycott ceremony

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Neeraj Rohmetra
JAMMU, Apr 20: Relations between PDP-BJP, the two Alliance partners in the State Government were further strained today when newly elected PDP MLA Yasir Reshi refused to take oath while his party colleagues in the Upper House abstained from the Oath ceremony held in the Legislative Council complex.
The PDP leaders as well as party’s members of the Upper House protested against what they called “backstabbing” by the BJP that led to defeat of party candidate Abdul Qayoom Dar on Jammu division seat and victory of BJP candidate Vikram Randhawa though the seat, as per the agreement between two parties, had gone to the PDP.
Insiders in the PDP told the Excelsior that lone newly elected PDP MLC Yasir Reshi was very much present in the Legislative Council complex and even met Council Chairman Haji Inayat Ali, who also belongs to the PDP. However, Reshi refused to take oath along with five other newly elected MLCs.
At least half a dozen PDP MLCs including Zaffar Manhas, Surinder Choudhary, Firdous Tak, Yasir Reshi, Said-ud-Din Bhat and others met in the chamber of Haji Inayat Ali before the oath ceremony in which it was unanimously decided that Yasir Reshi will not take oath and they will boycott the oath ceremony.
Immediately thereafter, Reshi as well as other MLCs left the Legislature complex. However, PDP leader Abdul Rehman Veeri attended the oath ceremony in his capacity as the Parliamentary Affairs Minister.
No other PDP Minister or leaders were present at the oath ceremony.
“We didn’t attend the Oath ceremony as it was not worth. We got only one seat out of six and our Alliance partners BJP backstabbed us despite clear understanding that PDP will get 30 votes to make our candidate Abdul Qayoom Dar win. If our Alliance partners is not ready to adhere to ‘coalition dharma’, why should we,”? a PDP MLC asked, confirming that they boycotted the oath ceremony to lodge our protest against the BJP’s backstabbing.
Five MLCs, who took oath today, included Girdhari Lal Raina alias Ajay Bharti, Pradeep Sharma and Vikram Randhawa (all BJP), Aga Syed Mehmood Al-Moosavi (NC) and Thakur Balbir Singh (Congress).
Council Chairman Haji Inayat Ali administered the oath of office and secrecy to newly elected MLCs.
Yasir Reshi has been elected to the Upper House for second time. He was among the six MLCs, who completed their term yesterday.
Sources said the PDP leaders were miffed over the violation of ‘coalition dharma’ by the BJP that led to the defeat of party candidate Abdul Qayoom Dar notwithstanding that he had been allotted safe seat of Jammu division.
However, the BJP was of the view that PDP’s own house was not in order as it failed to persuade Independent MLA from Zanskar (Kargil) Aga Syed Bakir Hussain Rizvi to cast vote in favour of Dar. As reported, Rizvi had switched sides in middle of the voting on April 17 by voting for the BJP, which reduced PDP’s votes from 30 to 29 and increased BJP’s votes from 28 to 29. As both the candidates were tied at 29, BJP candidate Vikram Randhawa won through the lottery. Congress candidate Thakur Balbir Singh was the other winner with 31 votes.
The PDP leaders said they abstained from the voting as the party was badly embarrassed by winning just one out of six seats of the Legislative Council while its coalition partner, the BJP, won three. “Even the Opposition National Conference and Congress won two seats,” they noted.
It may be mentioned that as per the PDP-BJP agreement, both parties got two safe seats each while it was decided that BJP would contest one unsafe seats of Jammu. BJP won two seats and PDP took one seat uncontested. NC won one seat unopposed. Election was held for two seats of Jammu division and one each was one by BJP and Congress.
As per the understanding, PDP-BJP had to ensure victory of Abdul Qayoom Dar on Jammu seat first by allocating block of 30 votes to him and remaining votes had to be polled to Randhawa. However, after Rizvi deserted the PDP, the party candidate lost.
Senior PDP leaders have openly voiced and conveyed their resentment to the BJP over party’s loss on safe Jammu seat, which left it embarrassed. The PDP regretted that even during the voting, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and other senior party leaders had asked the BJP leadership to divert their one vote to Dar after they came to know of Rizvi’s deserting.
Though some BJP leaders had asked party MLA Shakti Parihar to vote for the PDP candidate, sources said he refused to do so as he was bound by the party whip, which had been issued a day before calling upon all party MLAs to vote Randhawa. The BJP leaders have already explained it to the PDP that violation of whip could have cost Parihar his membership and, therefore, he voted for the BJP nominee.


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