Chandigarh:The walkout of AAP-LIP MLAs, who were protesting against what they claimed to be the denial of their democratic right to debate the Governor’s address, triggered a wave of reactions from the treasury benches, with several MLAs following the Chief Minister in castigating the main opposition party for its disruptive act.
Meanwhile, newly-elected Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Rana K P Singh, immediately after assuming the charge, also expressed his concern over the negative role of the legislators in the assembly. Condemning the mayhem created by the AAP-LIP MLAs on Monday, the Speaker appealed all lawmakers not to set wrong precedents and join hands to project a positive image of the institution in the society.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also termed the decision of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to walk out of the state assembly during the election of the Speaker as highly regrettable.
Addressing the House after the walkout by AAP-LIP MLAs, Amarinder said the main opposition party should uphold the dignity of the House instead of indulging in cheap dharna politics.
Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said the government had merely sought time for the debate and was not denying the opposition the right to discuss the Governor’s address. The government is yet to start functioning, he pointed out.
“Let the time come and we would give them a suitable response on everything,” he said adding that AAP had lost its plot in Punjab and had been thoroughly exposed.
Though the SAD-BJP MLAs opted to sit silent in the House, the Congress leaders lashed out at AAP as well as LIP’s Bains brothers for lowering the dignity of the House and undermining the democratic polity of the state by indulging in dharna politics in its august precincts.
“The AAP has a history of indulging in political stunts to remain in public limelight,” the ruling party MLAs said, adding that their rejection by the people of Punjab had left the AAP leaders totally frustrated and they were venting their ire by engaging in such ungainly tactics in a desperate attempt to damage the government’s efforts to provide good governance and initiate welfare measures for the people of the state, said the Congress leaders.
Later in a statement the government, led by the Chief Minister, made it clear that was completely open to a debate on the Governor’s address, scheduled for March 28, in the next session of the 15th Vidhan Sabha. The maiden session was necessarily a short one since the government needed to pass the Vote-on-Account on March 29, with just two days left of the financial year thereafter to implement several critical fiscal decisions.
Failure to execute the important financial decisions would bring all government work in the state to a standstill, said the ruling party, asserting that the governance of the state could not be put on hold to satiate the unreasonable desire of the AAP leaders and MLAs to find an excuse to raise a hullabaloo in the assembly and thus draw media and public attention to themselves.
Meanwhile, reacting to the SAD-BJP MLAs’ silence, the AAP’s chief whip Sukhpal Khaira alleged that the pre-poll ‘friendship’ between Akalis and Congress continued as Akalis did not object to denial of time to the opposition to speak.
The AAP accepted new office allotted to the party in the Vidhan Sabha. Leader of the Opposition HS Phoolka held the first meeting in the newly allotted office.
As the AAP leadership had objected to the seating arrangement for keeping the ally MLAs of Lok Insaaf Party away from them on the day one of the session, the LIP MLAs (Bains brothers) were on Monday provided new seats beside the AAP MLAs.
As the Opposition is divided in the House, the Vidhan Sabha authorities provided three rows each to the SAD-BJP MLAs and the AAP-LIP MLAs opposite the treasury benches.
As the Badal senior and Badal junior remained away from the House, the third most powerful minister of the previous SAD-BJP government Bikram Singh Majithia was also found not that active as he used to be in the previous government. He was rather sitting in the second row, with Ajit Singh Kohar in the front row.
Noted TV artiste-cum-Congress minister Navjot Singh Sidhu showed his oratory skills in the House when he took on Simarjit Singh Bains of LIP and Sukhpal Singh Khaira of AAP. He lobbed poetic bombshells, replete with sarcasm, on the Opposition to suppress their voice. When Sidhu was busy in attacking the Opposition, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was observed blushing and thumping the table.
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, using Urdu couplets, said the level of debate in the House had gone down over the years. He apprised all of his knowledge about the Vidhan Sabha proceedings and put the best of efforts in praising Speaker Rana KP Singh as well as the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Manpreet also appealed to the Speaker to give maximum importance to the new MLAs in the Vidhan Sabha committees to make them turn out to be well-experienced lawmakers.
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