Another budget session goes waste; will J&K legislators ever learn to legislate effectively?

If the Budget session is any indicator, Legislators of Jammu and Kashmir should seriously give a thought to taking up some other noble profession. From raising uproar over killings of both security forces and civilians to shouting Pakistan Zindabad slogans, they did everything to impress their respective constituencies in their respective regions. And the legislative business which they are supposed to take care of concluded smoothly. No serious debate over state of economy, no grilling of ministers over the sorry state of affairs in almost all the departments headed by them and above all, bills were passed as if there was no need to debate them. Opposition looked clueless. It seemed that they were in no mood to grill the government. They waited for something to happen in Kashmir valley to corner the PDP-BJP government. They did what PDP used to do when it was in opposition. Ex-Chief Minister Omar Abdullah assumed the role which was earlier being performed by current Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. All seemed to be a score settling exercise. You did not listen to me, now I won’t listen to you. This is what happened during the entire budget session for the year 2018-19. National Conference (NC) desisted from playing the role of an effective opposition. The focus from day 1 of the budget session was on Kashmir and more specifically, on killings of both the innocent civilians as well as men in uniform. National Conference (NC) kept reminding Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and his party about how she and her party would make their life difficult whenever a civilian was killed in gunfire or in the security forces action. Omar did not miss a chance to remind Mehbooba of her vows as leader of the opposition. Barring NC MLA and Provincial President Devinder Rana, none spoke a single word about the real issues in the state budget. Even Mr. Rana could not point out the flaws and inaccuracies alongwith economic data goof-up by the Finance ministry of Jammu and Kashmir. The office of CAG is soon going to unveil how the state plays with data to convince one and all that economy is on its way up and all steps are being taken to make Jammu and Kashmir, economically self-sufficient. It seems that ex-Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather has not taught anyone in National Conference (NC) how to respond to the budget speech from the party in power. He was the lone man who would respond effectively in the house to budget speeches of Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Tariq Hameed Qarra, two finance ministers from PDP during its first stint in office from year 2002 to 2008. He would plan meticulously and his speech would always make it to the front page of newspapers. He would effectively counter budget presentation of party in power, something which has not happened even once during the last four budget sessions. Dr. Drabu is lucky as he has no one in opposition to counter his budgetary claims. Not even one legislator asked Dr. Drabu about his GSDP and GDP claims. None asked him why he was desisting from pressing the CAG to send the annual audit report for lying before the two houses. Not even one legislator sought to know from him the genuine reasons for continuing with loss making corporations and institutions. None asked him how much money would lapse by the end of March 31, 2018. The legislators remained silent and did not speak a word about Panchayat budget introduced by Dr. Drabu which is more a speech and less a budget document.
What all said on the state budget was nothing but airing of local grievances, which is not at all for which the budget is presented. Congress followed NC. Their legislators spoke more about transfers and postings, roads and power projects besides seeking funds for their respective constituencies. BJP played the role opposition despite being party in power. They staged walkout, shouted slogans and even took on their party colleagues. It seems that the party is unable to give-up theatrics and debate over issues concerning the common man.
The single aim of the party in the assembly since day 1 has been to convince everyone that it is the only nationalist party on the earth. Barring two to three legislators, all others preferred shouting slogans and raising the decibels during the late night talk shows. Even one of the legislators took up the Job of live ground reporting during a terror attack. The party should understand that theatrics won’t help it when the Lok Sabha elections arrive. It should start focussing on real issues. PDP is yet to come to grips with reality both on the ground as well as within the government. The party has developed special liking for soothsayers and sycophants. And that is what had happened to ex-Chief Minister Omar Abdullah when he was in power. He did not like those who criticized his style of governance and hated the most the ones who would tell him truth on his face. Same seems to have happened with the PDP and its leaders. The sooner they come out of this attitude, the better it would be, both for the state as well as the party.

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