Captain attends 10 vs sessions, no questions asked
Chandigarh March 31:
Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh scored zero points in asking questions during various sessions of the Punjab Legislative Assembly in the four years of rule by the incumbent SAD-BJP Government.
Leader of Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal asked four questions and Lal Singh one question in 10 consecutive Assembly sessions. The information furnished under RTI for February 2007 to October 2010 by the Government of Punjab regarding questions asked by legislators during question hour on the floor of the House. Congress MLA Ajit Singh Shant was in top position with 56 questions in the last four years.
Other Congress MLAs Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Makhan Singh scored 55 and 51 respectively and occupied the second and third positions on the 10-member list. Madan Lal Thekedar 47, Virsa Singh Valtoha 46, Balbir Singh Sidhu 46, Iqbal Singh Jundha 42, Charanjit Channi 41, Ajit Singh Sahi 40 and Balbir Singh Bath 39 are the others who are on the list.
Captain Amarinder Singh, Jeet Mohinder Sidhu, Ajit Singh, Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, Magat Rai Bansal, Om Prakash Soni and Balbir Singh Ghunas are among 117 sitting MLAs who asked no questions during 10 consecutive sessions of the Vidhan Sabha.
Lal Singh, Raziya Sultan, Sadhu Singh, Sita Ram Kashyap were on the one, Avtar Brar, Brahm Mahindra, Malkeet Singh, Gurtez Singh, Surinder Pal Singh Sibia and Harmohinder Singh asked two questions each while Love Kumar Goldi asked three and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal asked four questions on the floor of the House.
In the last Budget session ending on March 26, Congress MLAs Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Sunil Kumar Jakhar, Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Makhan Singh and Avtar Brar were among those legislators of the Congress who were having lots of questions for the ruling Governments but Leader of the Opposition and Captain Amarinder did not have any.
"Those who have scored zero in the four years, they should think about that. After all people of their constituency elected them and what they expected for," said Ashwani Chawla, RTI activist who sought the information and shared with reporters. Congress has walked out at least four times in the Vidhan Sabha during last budget session demanding white paper on the State fiscal figures. They did not even participate in the budget discussion.
Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal said that the Congress did not have any issues to raise in the House. That is why they are creating problems in the House. Three hours have been given by the Speaker to the Opposition but they were running back. To cover up their inability in finding fault with the Budget, they were using walkouts and boycotts as ploys to save their skins.
Captain Amarinder attended seven out of ten sessions with lots of absences in the House. In the just-concluded Budget session he attended only six days out of 14 days and in spite of the demand of white paper, none of the questions were asked by the Captain. He was expelled from the 13th State Assembly on September 10, 2008, for breach of privilege after a resolution was passed on the basis of the report of a special committee appointed by the Punjab Assembly on the alleged irregularities. The Supreme Court ordered the restoration of his membership last year.
The Assembly had expelled Amarinder by adopting a resolution moved at the instance of the SAD-BJP Government led by Parkash Singh Badal for causing a loss to the State exchequer by granting exemption for 32.1 acres belonging to a private builder from the purview of the Amritsar Improvement Trust scheme. Captain Amarinder Singh had won the Patiala seat in the February 13, 2007 Assembly elections.