Chandigarh: The Monsoon Session that was apparently the last session of the 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday ended up at an ugly note where chaos and commotion prevailed over the legislative business. Congress MLA Tarlochan Singh Soondh hurled a shoe at treasury benches and his colleagues were busy in throwing booklets and paper missiles on Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal as well as Vidhan Sabha secretary Shashi Lakhanpal Mishra. Amid all this chaos, the Vidhan Sabha, however, passed as many as 12 at breakneck speed.
After adjourning the House sine die, Speaker Atwal said: “It was the most unfortunate day of my 60 years political life.” Former Leader of Opposition and Congress party’s spokesman Sunil Jakhar also termed what happened inside the House as an unfortunate incident but mentioning that the situation had been allowed to be so ugly that his party colleagues had no option but to resort to such ‘unparliamentary’ gestures.
CONGRESS PRESSES FOR DEBATE
It was all chaos when the Vidhan Sabha resumed on Wednesday at 10 am. Congress MLAs pressed for a debate on the ‘no confidence motion’ which was otherwise declared defeated on Monday. They declared that they won’t allow the House to function if their demand were not met, which the Speaker turned down and they all resorted to raising slogans against Atwal and the government. Amid ruckus, the Speaker had to suspend the Question Hour and also the House was adjourned for 15 minutes. After the House resumed, the Speaker took up legislative business and asked MLAs to propose the Bills. To scuttle proceedings, the Congress MLAs moved on throwing booklets on the Speaker and the Vidhan Sabha Secretary Shashi Lakhanpal Mishra, accusing them of being biased.
SOONDH HURLS THE SHOE
All of a sudden, Tarlochan Soondh flung a shoe at treasury benches which hit Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, sitting behind Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. Holding the shoe in hand, Majithia stood up and condemned the Congress MLA’s gesture. He also urged the Speaker to disqualify Congress MLA for his ‘unparliamentary’ gesture but the Speaker opted to remain silent on the issue.
SAD MLAs then stood up and all flayed the act of Soondh with a demand of unconditional apology from Soondh and CLP leader Charanjit Singh Channi. The incident pained some of Congress MLAs too including Sunil Kumar Jakhar and they sat back on seats with regret but Channi immediately controlled the situation and opted to stage walkout. However, the sulking Majithia dared Soondh to come to him and take the shoe back that made the Congress MLAs to change their decision and they were all back in Well of the House.
SAD-BJP SEEKS ACTION
Though all SAD-BJP MLAs condemned the act of Congress MLA, BJP minister Anil Joshi proposed action against Soondh but the Speaker was in no mood to oblige him. Later, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal deposited the shoe in the office of Speaker saying an inquiry would follow.
Reacting to development, Majithia said: “It was a disgraceful act. People of Punjab will punish the Congress for this.” He also sought Soondh’s disqualification from the House, whereas the Leader of the Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi announced his support to Soondh for his act as he claimed that it was a reaction against the Akali MLA for uttering foul words about Dalit people. At a press briefing, Channi said: “We will hurl 100 shoes if anyone insults Dalits.”
VALTOHA WAS SOONDH’S TARGET
Justifying his act, Soondh claimed that he had aimed it at SAD MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha with an accusation that he had passed a casteist remark against him. On being asked how the shoe did reach Majithia as there was quite distance between the seats of the two, the Congress MLA failed to give a satisfactory reply. Later they held a mock assembly in the lobby of Vidhan Sabha.
SAD MLA REJECTS ALLEGATIONS
On the other hand, Valtoha outrightly rejected the allegations, stating that he was a ‘true Sikh’ who never believed in casteism. “When our party gives too much respect to Dalit members, how can I even think of uttering such nonsense? The allegation is baseless,” Valtoha reacted. He was backed by eight Dalit MLAs of the Akali Dal, claiming that there were no such utterances in the Vidhan Sabha.
BAINS BROTHERS IN SILENT MODE
Amid the pandemonium, two Ludhiana MLAs, Simarjit Singh and Balwinder Singh, known as Bains brothers, remained silent in protest in the Well of the House as they wanted the government to reply their Friday’s query of not charging money from Rajasthan for the water supply.
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