Talk of split takes sting out of Cong attack
Amid talk of the Punjab Congress being split and former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh forming his own party, the Opposition attack on the Akali-BJP government on the second sitting of the Vidhan Sabha session was rather blunted.
Much against the expectations of a stormy session today -- with the Congress moving an adjournment motion to discuss the agrarian crisis -- the party MLAs were rather meek as the treasury benches "taunted" them about Amarinder indicating that he could break away to form his own political outfit and about factionalism within the party.
Even as Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal said the adjournment motion would not be taken up today and deferred the discussion on the subject till Wednesday, the Congress MLAs did not voice much protest.
Jakhar raises voice
Other than Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar saying that his adjournment motion was not dependent on anybody, the other MLAs remained mum. The only issue where Congress MLAs (mainly Kuljit Nagra) vehemently opposed the treasury benches was when an unsavoury remark was made against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and during the debate on passing a private varsity Bill.
Protest over blue cards
Earlier during the question hour, when a question by a recently elected Akali Dal MLA from Dhuri, Gobind Singh Longowal, regarding the cancellation of blue cards to poor in his constituency was not taken up, Congress MLAs Charanjit Singh Channi and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot tried to lodge a protest by storming the well of the House after Food Minister Adaish Partap Kairon did not reply. But they found themselves alone and as Kairon rose to speak, the duo went back to the seats.
‘Poor terror attack handling’
Feeble attempts by Congress MLA from Dinanagar Aruna Chaudhary to raise certain issues regarding the fidayeen attack at Dinanagar were also drowned amid protests from the treasury benches led by Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia. Jakhar tried to come to her rescue, but Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal had the last word on the issue saying that the attack did not warrant an Army action as the Punjab Police was well-equipped to handle the situation.
Stormy press meet
If the performance of the Congress inside the House was "meek", outside the House, Jakhar roared while addressing the media. "The government is running away from debate on the agrarian crisis. Look at the way the Deputy CM laughed off the debate on farmer suicides by reading an interview of a senior leader. The deletion of lakhs of beneficiaries from the Atta-Dal scheme and distribution of sugar in PDS too needs to be debated," he said.
ON THE SIDELINES
Why unofficial ban on ‘MSG-2’?
Congress MLA Randeep Nabha alleged the government was not concerned over movies that eulogise terrorism, but a film like "MSG-2", featuring Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, is unofficially banned.
1,861 confirmed cases of dengue
A calling attention motion moved by Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi on dengue saw Health Minister Surjit Jyani explaining that so far 3,766 suspected dengue cases have been reported in Punjab this year, of which 1,861 have tested positive.
Majithia’s dig at faction-ridden Cong
The treasury benches were in splits after Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia taunted the faction-ridden Congress that was demanding additional time for zero hour. He urged the Speaker to grant them more time as each MLA has to speak from a different faction, represented by Bajwa, Captain and other leaders.
Kairon avoids query on blue card holders
Rather than giving a reply, Food Minister Adaish Pratap Kairon asked Congress MLAs to come to him later so that he could explain the issue of deletion of names of blue card holders.
MLAs be given daily wages not salary: Jakhar
Addressing the media, Sunil Jakhar rued that since there were so few sittings of the Assembly, it would be better if the MLAs were given daily wages, rather than the government spending lakhs on their salaries and perks.