The Congress forced an adjournment in the Assembly session Tuesday over the issue of the Governor not having been sent the bill de-notifying allotment of land for the SYL canal. Later, when the House resumed, the party also staged a walkout over the issue for the remaining part of the day.
As soon as the Zero Hour began, the Congress MLAs, led by the Leader of the Opposition, stood up to raise the issue. The Speaker allowed Charanjit Singh Channi to speak but after initial few sentences, verbal sparring began between Channi and the Speaker. The Leader of Opposition raised his voice and almost shouted his indignation at not being allowed to speak and said that he wanted to put across the message that the land owners should start filling the portion of SYL canal which falls under their farm limits.
The Speaker tried to explain that the matter pertained to procedural issues and that he could not let any discussion take place on it. He also said that the bill had been referred to the Legal Remembrancer. However, the Congress MLAs gathered in the well of the House and started raising slogans against the government. When repeated requests by the Speaker to disperse went unheeded, the Speaker adjourned the House at 11:15 am for 45 minutes.
When the House re-assembled, the Speaker again clarified on the matter and said the bill had gone from the house to the Legal Remembrancer and then it has to go with the ministry concerned before being put to the mover of the bill and finally the Governor.
However, Channi again raised the question on why the bill had not been signed by the Governor on the same day as had been done in 2004 when the Assembly passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act. He said the Deputy Chief Minister should give an explanation on why the bill was not sent to the Governor. He asked if any pact had been reached with the Centre over the issue and said that the Opposition MLAs had been taken to the Governor for merely a photo-op on Tuesday in the garb of an all-party delegation over the bill.
Channi said the SAD-BJP government was adopting double standards over the issue and asked the members of the treasury benches to accompany Congress MLAs to places where the farmers were filling up the canal. The ruling alliance did not try to outshout the Congress benches though Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi, Education Minister D S Cheema and Revenue Minister could be seen protesting against the Congress slogan-shouting and comments.
Eventually, Congress MLAs staged a walkout from the House leaving behind only two MLAs, Ajaib Singh Bhatti and Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, who had moved call attention motions.
After the Congress walkout, BJP MLA Manoranjan Kalia strongly protested against the actions of the Congress MLAs and their slogan-shouting.
On Channi’s assertions of helping farmers fill up the SYL canal, Kalia questioned if the intention was to create a law and order situation.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal also criticised the Congress over the ruckus created in the House.
“Some days ago they held a strategy meeting with a foreign educated person who holds dual citizenship. Their strategy seems to be focused on disrupting Parliament as well as the Assembly,” said Mitttal.