Punjab: Congress’ no-confidence motion defeated by voice vote

Despite the Speaker assuring him that he would do so later, Channi stuck to his demand and started his speech only after the Speaker had obliged.

By: PTI | Chandigarh | Published:September 12, 2016 10:26 pm

The no-confidence motion moved by the Congress against the ruling SAD-BJP government in Punjab was on Monday defeated by a voice vote amid acrimonious scenes in the Assembly. After some bills were presented on the third day of the ongoing Monsoon Session of the House, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal allowed a debate on the no-confidence motion moved by Leader of Opposition and Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi.

The motion, admitted on September 8, was moved on several grounds, including “failure of the state government to protect the interests of Punjab on the SYL canal issue, the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, emergence of mafia groups, rampant corruption, the deteriorating fiscal position of the state and failure in apprehending the culprits behind the Bargari sacrilege case”.

However, Channi, who was unhappy over the time allotted to Congress members for the debate, asked the Speaker to increase the duration. Despite the Speaker assuring him that he would do so later, Channi stuck to his demand and started his speech only after the Speaker had obliged.

Notably, wife of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and BJP MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who was sitting on the benches meant for the ruling alliance members, left the House before the no-confidence motion was put to vote. Channi mounted an attack on the ruling Badal family, accusing it of “corrupting the entire system” in the state.

As the debate was on, Congress members objected to Akali MLA Iqbal Singh Jhundan, who was presiding over the proceedings at that time, sporting an Akali Dal badge. They rushed to the Well of the House and demanded that Jhundan remove the badge, saying he needed to be “impartial” while seated in the Speaker’s chair.

When Jhundan refused to remove it, Congress members, including Tarlochan Sondh and Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, tried to break the cordon of the watch-and-ward staff in an attempt to reach the Speaker’s chair. Warring got into a heated exchange with the watch-and-ward staff and threw a piece of cloth towards the Speaker’s chair.

The opposition members returned to their seats only after Atwal came back.