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Assembly adjourned,opposition angry with process of conveying

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SRINAGAR: The hour-long session of the assembly convened to elect the Speaker was adjourned as the opposition raised issues about the process of convening. They said the members were not given enough of time to attend the session.

While it was expected that ruling coalition candidate will be the consensus candidate but indications suggest he will have to face an election literally. Opposition benches suggest they are nominating a member to the post from opposition benches for which they also require all the members.

Senior NC leader Mohammad Shafi Urvi said the government gave only a day for the members to reach Srinagar which was impractical. This was the key reason, he said, why members from Ladakh and other regions including Congressman Nawang Rigzin Jora, Altaf Kaloo, Javed Rana and many others could not reach Srinagar. He said while the PDP and BJP members are present in full quorum, those from opposition failed to reach because there was not enough time. He said that Omar Abdullah is also out of the station.

Shafi said that members should ideally have got the information in anticipation but they were the last to know. He said the governor summoned the assembly on Thursday, a day ahead in advance.

Engineer Rasheed said there was something bad in the rules because most of the members were informed through media. He said the members were sent invitations through internet but the facility was not working everywhere across the state.

It was in the middle of this crisis that Deputy Speaker Nazir Gurezi, who was presiding over the sitting, announced the adjournment for 30 minutes. He said he does not want the house to be divided on this issue. He had earlier informed the house that his secretariat had sent telegrams and even informed members telephonically. It is the era of internet, he said. It was in response to this that Rasheed said Kashmir lives in Stone Age. Gurezi said the House had teh tradition of electing its Presiding Officer by consensus.

The session had become inevitable because Kavinder Gupta and Dr Nirmal Singh were asked to swap their position. Today, Dr Singh is supposed to be installed as the new Speaker for the assembly.

In the All Party Meeting that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti presided over on Wednesday, the opposition had suggested that the one-hour sitting should be extended to at least three days so that the lawmakers would discuss the prevailing situation. It was not accepted by the government, however.

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