Congress registered a strong protest against SAD-BJP government during Zero Hour on the second day of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha’s Monsoon Session, accusing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of only responding to questions that suited the government.
Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal raised the issue of finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa’s wife distributing cheques worth Rs 16 crore grant in her (Bhattal’s) Lehragaga constituency.
Terming it as a “constitutional violation”, Bhattal said CM Parkash Singh Badal had assured in the earlier session that only legislators or ministers can distribute any grant cheques.
“I have the proof [of Dhindsa’s wife distributing cheques]. Anyone can see that,” Bhattal said, waving her mobile phone. As she continued with her tirade, there was no response from ruling benches. Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal said he could not compel government for an answer.
Bhattal, however, told him, “If someone violates maryada (code of conduct) of the House, you can take action.” However, Atwal said, “In Parliament also, the system is that Speaker cannot compel government for an answer.”
On another issue, however, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal grabbed the opportunity to credit the government for erecting a number of memorials as Congress legislator Rana Gurmit Sodhi sought CM’s comment on a resolution to put up statues of prominent personalities like Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai and B R Ambedkar.
Badal slammed Congress for not erecting any memorial despite having ruled state for a long time. He reminded them of the still under-construction Jang-e-Azadi and War memorials and said there was a difference in “show off” by one [party] and actual performance by the other. As he was crediting SAD-BJP government, Congress leaders started lodging protest, asking how was it that the CM could speak at length on memorials, but kept mum on issue raised by Bhattal.
Appealing for calm, Badal said since it was last session of current Vidhan Sabha, the memories that members should take home should be sweet and not bitter.