The Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly witnessed ruckus with opposition parties – National Conference and the Congress party – alleging use of money power in Anantnag by-poll, where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is in a fray. The two also staged a walkout from the assembly with some opposition leaders also resorting to slogans.
The by-poll was necessitated after the demise of Mehbooba’s father and late CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. Mehbooba, who took over as the Chief Minister three months after Mufti’s demise is facing a tough battle in Southern Kashmir assembly constituency.
On Thursday, Congress MLA Nawang Rigzin Jora demanded that the Assembly Speaker order an inquiry into the matter where Rs 58 lakh were seized from a private car in Ashajipora area of Anantnag district. It seems that the government was “distributing the money to buy votes” for the June 22 by-poll for Anantnag Assembly seat, the lawmaker alleged.
Interestingly, the Congress leader found support from his party and National Conference members as well.
As soon as the Question Hour ended, Congress leader Nawang Rigzin Jora informed Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta that police had on Tuesday evening seized a private car and found Rs 58 lakh in it at Ashajipora in Anantnag district.
“During questioning, one person on board identified himself as an employee of Jammu and Kashmir Bank posted at Ashajipora branch,” the Congress lawmaker said adding that the money belonged to the bank after Manager of the branch who confirmed that the money was being transferred to the chest.
“There is a set protocol to be followed while moving the cash to the chest. It is done in an official vehicle… Why was it being done in the night?” he asked demanding probe.
On the other hand, the ruling party was quick to dismiss the allegations levelled by the opposition parties. CAPD Minister Zulfikar Ali intervened saying the opposition was making “baseless charges”.
“The election process is carried out under the direct control and supervision of the Election Commission of India. If they have any proof, they should bring it forth. But they have no proof,” Ali said.
Mehbooba Mufti is locked in a tri-corner contest after Congress and National Conference too fielding local heavyweights to take on the sitting Chief Minister.
While the Congress party has fielded Hilal Ahmad Shah, who secured more than 10 thousand votes against Mufti Sayeed in the Assembly polls, J&K National Conference has nominated Iftikhar Misger to take on the Chief Minister.
In the assembly polls, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had got 16,983 votes as against 10,955 secured by Congress party’s Hilal Ahmad Shah, followed by 2403 votes of NC’s Iftikhar Misger. Though there is no official tie-up between the two opposition parties, any collective manoeuvre by them may give tough fight to the sitting Chief Minister.
(With inputs from the Agencies)