Cracks in coalition visible, PDP skips oath ceremony of new MLCs

Leaders say party’s dignity more important

The cracks in the ruling coalition were visible on Thursday when Peoples Democratic Party “deliberately” skipped the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-elected members of Legislative Council to protest against “poaching” of one of the six seats in the House by its ally, Bharatiya Janata Party. The lone elected member of PDP, Yasir Reshi didn’t take the oath though he was seen in the Council Secretariat minutes before the ceremony started.
The oath ceremony was scheduled for this afternoon and all members been informed about it in advance, sources said.
While three BJP members and one member each from National Conference and Congress—recently elected to the Council—were administered the oath of office by the Chairman of Legislative Council, Haji Anayat Ali, the PDP member remained absent.
Sources said Reshi was slated to take oath at Serial No 3, and like other newly-elected members, had been communicated about the function. “Though the function was delayed, the member (Reshi) didn’t turn up,” they said.
Confirming that he didn’t attend the oath ceremony, Reshi said: “The party is important for me. There is no position which I value more than being a member of my party.”
The development comes after PDP lost one of the “safe” seats in the Legislative Council elections. The PDP suffered a setback when it lost the seat after independent MLA, Baqir Rizvi, whom it was banking upon for support voted for the BJP candidate.
On Wednesday a senior PDP Minister accused the BJP of violating coalition ‘dharma’ and “backstabbing” when the allies had already reached an agreement for two seats each for both the PDP and the BJP.
Several senior members from the BJP and the opposition attended the function but none of the members from the PDP joined it.
The sources said there were five to seven MLCs of the PDP, including Firdous Tak, Saif-ud-Din Bhat and Surinder Choudhary present in the Council secretariat but they too left minutes before the oath ceremony started.
“Some of the PDP members were present in the Council Hall where the ceremony was held but they also left,” the sources said.
“To follow the coalition dharma is responsibility of both the parties. The BJP can’t have cake and eat it too,” said a PDP leader.
Talking to Kashmir Post, Firdous Tak said: “It is the party and image of the organization which is of prime importance for us. We are here because of the party and upholding its dignity is our prime responsibility.”
The members who took oath included Girdhari Lal Raina (BJP), Pardeep Sharma (BJP), Vikram Randhawa (BJP), Aga Syed Mahmood Al-Moosavi (NC), and Balbir Singh (INC). The senior PDP leader A R Veeri attended the function in the capacity of Parliamentary Affairs Minister. Minister for Cooperatives, Chering Dorjay, besides several former and sitting legislators of both the Houses were present on the occasion. Among others, Secretary Legislative Council, Abdul Majid Bhat, senior officers of Legislative Council and large number of supporters and relatives of the newly elected members of the Upper House were also present, said an official statement.

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