Speaker boycotts DyCM’s DDB meet; 2 party MLAs furious :
JAMMU, November 01 :
Open differences have surfaced in ruling BJP with Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta on Tuesday boycotting the District Development Board (DDB) Jammu review meeting chaired by his party colleague and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh on the issue of protocol while two Opposition MLAs—Devender Singh Rana and Kamal Arora—walked-out of the meeting alleging irregularities and lack of developmental works. Two more BJP MLAs openly voiced resentment on various issues in the DDB meeting, leading to commotion.
Dr Nirmal Singh, who happens to be Chairman of the DDB Jammu, has, meanwhile issued explanation of all Head of Departments (HoDs), who abstained from the meeting and directed the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu to initiate stern action against them. On the other, Kavinder Gupta has issued explanation of Jammu Development Authority (JDA) Vice Chairman Rajesh Kumar Sawan for violation of protocol. The JDA falls under the Ministry of Dr Nirmal Singh.
In what could be termed as “open differences’’ within the ruling BJP, Kavinder Gupta refused to attend the DDB Jammu meeting, which was chaired by Dr Nirmal Singh alleging violation of protocol at inauguration of a shed constructed by the JDA outside Bahu Fort temple.
While Kavinder Gupta refused to comment, reliable sources told the Excelsior that the Speaker’s name had been mentioned below Dr Nirmal Singh in the plaque fixed by the JDA near Bahu Fort temple for inauguration of the shed. Initially, Gupta had been told by the Department that only he would inaugurate the shed. However, in the morning, he was briefed that Dr Nirmal Singh will also be present with him.
Gupta reportedly got examined the plaque and found his name below Dr Singh, which, sources said, was violation of protocol as the Speaker is above the Deputy CM. Gupta not only stayed away from the JDA function but to voice his resentment and protest also boycotted the DDB Jammu meeting later. Dr Singh inaugurated the shed alone.
Gupta is BJP MLA from Gandhi Nagar and Bahu Fort temple area falls under his constituency. Sources said soon after the inauguration of shed by Dr Singh, Gupta called explanation of the JDA VC on violation of protocol.
Sources close to Dr Nirmal Singh, however, claimed that protocol has been maintained. They said there was one protocol inside the Legislative Assembly and another outside.
Though the differences within the ruling BJP have been quite common, this was a rare occasion when the two top party veterans fought it out openly on the issue of protocol after which the Speaker even refused to attend the DDB Jammu review meet.
Commotion prevailed even inside the DDB meeting when National Conference provincial president and MLA Nagrota Devender Singh Rana joined by his party colleague and MLA Bishnah, Kamal Arora alleged irregularities in implementation of various schemes and lack of development works especially macadamization of roads in Jammu.
Sources said trouble erupted when Dr Nirmal Singh referred to laying of bitumen at Government Guest House lane saying Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also pointed out about condition of the road during his visit in September.
This angered Rana, who charged the Deputy Chief Minister with ordering laying of bitumen as per his own whims and fancies and ignoring genuine road construction work. He alleged that majority of projects taken up by him in the last DDB Jammu meeting in March in which Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was also present have not been taken up till date.
Dr Nirmal Singh, however, charged Devender Rana with playing politics on irrelevant issues saying the Opposition has been bereft of the issues and was trying to make an issue out of nothing.
Rana said: “I’m not in the DDB meeting because of you (Dr Singh). I’m an elected representative from Nagrota and by virtue of that I’m attending this meeting’’.
Amidst heated arguments, Devender Rana and Kamal Arora staged stormy walk-out of the DDB meeting.
It may be mentioned here that out of 11 MLAs in Jammu district, there are only two opposition MLAs (Rana and Arora) while nine others belonged to the BJP.
Sources said BJP MLA from RS Pura Gagan Bhagat also protested at the meeting for being furnished a “totally wrong reply’’.
Bhagat said he has been given reply that the issue raised by him in the last DDB meeting for providing Critical Care Ambulance to RS Pura has been addressed with the issuance of Ambulance. However, he added that RS Pura hasn’t been provided with any such ambulance.
Bhagat said the Health Department official had come to the meeting unprepared.
“Five young deaths have taken place in RS Pura due to lack of Critical Care Ambulance. Such Ambulances are not being provided to RS Pura and other places deliberately as some doctors were partner in Critical Care Ambulances and were looting the patients and their attendants. I’m ready to name these doctors if asked for,’’ Bhagat said.
BJP MLA from Marh Sukhnandan Choudhary was furious on the ground that the Government was discriminating between rural and urban constituencies.
( Courtesy . Daily Excelsior Jammu )