LEGISLATORS OF the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday got an extensive training session from various subject experts on how to raise issues during the forthcoming budget session of the Punjab Assembly and how to effectively take part in proceedings on the floor of the House. Out of the 20 AAP MLAs, 19 are first-timers with only Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira having had previous experience of Assembly proceedings as a Congress MLA.
Monday’s training session, held in the Vidhan Sabha complex, was attended by 15 MLAs, including the leader of Opposition, HS Phoolka, and co-president of the state unit of the party and Sunam MLA, Aman Arora. The MLAs were also addressed by Delhi MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, who shot to limelight recently when he demonstrated in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha how an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) could be manipulated for desired results.
Bhardwaj gave the MLAs tips on how questions should be put to the treasury benches, the manner in which information can be had from the government on various issues and how to effectively utilise the various committees and subcommittees of the House to which the MLAs get nominated.
In addition to these tips, each AAP MLA has been provided with a research assistant and subject expert who will give background information to the MLA on the topic that he or she is to raise in the Assembly.
These topics have been chosen from the Governor’s address and would be utilised to assail the government’s stand and point out inadequacies.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Phoolka said the sessions had been very productive as they helped the MLAs identify the topics on which they would speak and the process of the House.
“It is our endeavour that most of our MLAs should be able to participate in the discussion that takes place in the House in a constructive manner. The research team will also enhance the domain knowledge of the MLAs and will help them project their views in an effective manner,” he said.
The co-president, Aman Arora, said the training session was important since most of the MLAs were first-timers.
“There is a basic decorum and structure of functioning in the House and these have to be taken note of. There were some basic doubts in the minds of the legislators which were cleared and this will help them function more effectively,” he said.
The party has also called a meeting of its MLAs and that of the alliance partner, Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), on Tuesday in Chandigarh in order to work out the floor strategy during the upcoming session.
The issue of seating arrangements in the Assembly has not yet been resolved to the satisfaction of AAP and LIP and this may create problems during the session if the LIP members do not take their designated seats in the second row. AAP has insisted that the two LIP MLAs should sit in the front row as the party was an alliance partner and that in the previous Assembly, SAD and BJP also had the same privilege.