Jammu and Kashmir legislators take oath

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and all other legislators of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly were sworn in Tuesday.

Jammu: Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and all other legislators of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly were sworn in Tuesday.

Among those who took oath were members of the council of ministers and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Two legislators, Lal Singh and Pawan Gupta, took oath in Dogri.

The legislator from Noushera, Ravinder Raina, insisted on taking oath in the name of Mata Vaishnoo Devi instead of god. The chair finally allowed it after some discussion.

Omar Abdullah was thronged by journalists as he came out of the complex but he refused to speak to them.

Muhammad Ramzan, secretary of the assembly, told reporters: "The six-year term of the assembly begins today (Tuesday)."

He said the salaries, allowances, perks and constituency development fund of Rs.1.5 crore annually would be available to the lawmakers from Tuesday.

The assembly has 87 elected members and two nominated members to give representation to women.

Muhammad Shafi of the National Conference was sworn in by the governor earlier as the protem speaker.

Tuesday's oath taking took place at the legislature complex here. The state has a bicameral legislature comprising the legislative assembly and the legislative council.

The results for the Jammu and Kashmir elections were announced on December 23, and the 12th state assembly was constituted on January 1 this year.

But the elected members could not be sworn in because the state came under Governor's rule on January 8 as no single political party or group of parties staked claim to power.

The assembly will elect a full-time speaker Wednesday, when the budget session begins with the governor's address.

Kavinder Gupta of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be elected the speaker as per the terms of the agreement between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its ally the BJP.

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