The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has written to Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker to seek an extension of the forthcoming Budget Session starting from March 20 to include at least 15 sittings till the second week of April. As of now since the session, slated to go on till March 28, is expected to have six to seven sittings due to a holiday and the weekend between the duration of session.
In his letter to the Speaker, Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu pointed out that usually the Budget sessions in Punjab have been having between nine and 15 sittings. Instead of having a longer session, the one which has been called falls woefully short of even the earlier sessions, he said.
Sandhu further said that the duration of the session appears to have been dictated by the government’s listing of business. “As Speaker of the august House, you are its custodian and the duration of the session is your and not government’s prerogative. The government could give you a list of the business that it seeks to bring forward. As Speaker, you could ask each of the opposition parties for their list of the business before taking the final call on the number of sittings the House would have,” he said.
The AAP MLA said the vital issues plaguing the state can be addressed only through discussion and debate and not by pushing them under the carpet. “By following the agenda set by the government, you have opened the august office of the Speaker to the charge of being grossly and blatantly partisan,” Sandhu alleged.
On behalf of AAP, Kanwar Sandhu listed 11 issues as business of the party which it would want discussed during the Budget Session. “Punjab has not only been let down by its bureaucracy but also looted by its political masters. Besides, the judiciary has failed to live up to people’s expectations. The only hope lies in the parliamentary institutions like the Vidhan Sabha, which need to debate the vital issues plaguing the state,” he said in the detailed letter.
Among the issues listed out by Sandhu, in his letter, which the party wants to be discussed in the session include, sanctity of manifesto, state of Punjab’s finances, waiving off the farm debt, joblessness in Punjab, eradication of “mafia raj”, education and health systems, alienation of NRIs, protecting Punjab’s natural resources, housing and the issues concerning journalists working in small towns of the state.