Budget Session: Amid the stark controversies, progress or no progress?

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By Pawas Verma


The three-week-long first budget session of the PDP and the BJP has brought in more than expected clashes in the Assembly in the respective period. The session resulted in numerous clashes and protests, not only between the incumbent government and the opposition but also between the ruling allies. The budget session commenced with high hopes with the Governor Vohra’s address. Many issues were challenged and debated upon, followed by counter-challenges- at times sensitive but yet reasoned and thought well. The initial phase of the session had raised the hopes of scoring high in the powerful House. Finance Minister Drabu’s maiden speech brought forth a combination of reasonably achievable imagination and the hard realities of the state. The very positive beginning was then followed by controversies, chaos, noise and disorder in the Assembly.

The twin attacks in Samba and Kathua, however nothing new or unusual, were slightly unexpected after Mufti had credited with Pakistan for facilitating the Assembly polls in the state. The statement was criticized by the bruised Election Commission, people of Jammu as well as Kashmir and also security forces but had still made people count on Mufti’s assured aim of Peace. In response to the attacks, Mufti put the blame on the non state actors- who were attacking and killing Pakistanis. The statement again invited many questions from party groups, leading to chaos. After the second attack, Mufti admitted that the terrorists had links with Pakistan and asked Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to tame the situation if he desires the dialogue between the two nations.  More issues followed, revocation of AFSPA, hoisting of stage flag alongside the Tricolor and then the reversal of this order, threatening flood situation in Kashmir, rehabilitation and recovery of the Septmber horror victims, rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits, raking up more agitation between the two sides of the front. The opposition leaders aggressively staged protests against the fickle stance of the Mufti leadership. BJP leaders too raised slogans against Pakistan and openly condemned the revocation of AFSPA. PDP acted as nothing more than a mute spectator while the protests kept growing. To add more to this ongoing friction the CM announced Rs 25 crore for the immediate relief to the people of Kashmir and only Rs 10 crore for Jammu and Dy CM Nirmal Kumar Singh on another occasion allocated additionalities of Rs 2.5 Crore for Jammu and Rs 1 Crore for the Kashmir valley. Resettling of Kashmiri Pandits after the meeting of Mufti and Rajnath Singh brought forth nothing but ambiguity as no land was identified and the concept of townships was still incoherent.

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The session concluded with as much gap as it commenced with, leaving negligible room for progress and rather more stark differences between the two allies.