Jammu and Kashmir assembly meets Wednesday, to elect speaker

February 24th, 2009 - 12:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Feb 24 (IANS) The newly elected Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly is set to meet Wednesday and the first item on its agenda is to elect a new speaker, officials said Tuesday.
“The House (legislative assembly) will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday and the process for the election of speaker will commence,” said Mohammad Ramzan, secretary of the assembly.

National Conference, the leading partner in the ruling coalition, may stake its claim to the post of speaker. Though the party has not revealed its choice as yet, but the names doing the rounds in the political circles are of a former minister Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan, who won from Handwara in northwest Kashmir, and former deputy speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, who was elected from Sonawari constituency of Bandipore district in north Kashmir.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and his son, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, are currently not in town to confirm the party’s final choice. While Abdullah senior is in London, the chief minister is camping in New Delhi, party sources said.

It is also unclear whether the ruling alliance of National Conference and Congress would give the post of deputy speaker to the opposition or allot it to the Congress.

After the election of Farooq Abdullah and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to the Rajya Sabha, the effective strength of the two parties in the House of 87 has been reduced to 42 - 16 of the Congress and 26 of the National Conference.

Sources in the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said that articulating peoples’ grievances was more important to them than getting the deputy speaker’s post.

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