The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) put up a much confident show in the brief two-day Assembly session which concluded on Wednesday. In comparison to the first session, the MLAs of the party appeared much more confident and versed with legislative procedure and outpaced the SAD-BJP combine while the Congress ranks were decidedly dull.
But for the last minute surprise sprung by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra, in the form of resolution against the Bains brothers of Lok Insaaf Party for releasing an audio clip targeting the judiciary, the AAP camp had the situation in the House well under control. However, the unexpectedly bitter and vicious reaction to the resolution with personal comments and use of derogatory language by the Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Khaira was also in sharp contrast to his leadership display during the course of the session where he could be seen leading the AAP-LIP combine from the front.
Even backbencher AAP MLAs appeared more confident and could be seen assertively taking on the ministers while asking listed questions and then following up with supplementary questions. Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu’s question on the toll plaza on the Kurali-Siswan road was picked up by the Congress MLAs too who took on their own minister on the issue. Mohali MLA Balbir Sidhu and Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa demanded to know the role of private contractors in the plaza and the private resort, Sukhvilas, belonging to the Badals.
AAP successfully managed to pivot the attention away from the drugs case summons to Sukhpal Khaira on the first day by gathering in the well and demanding a CBI probe into the audio sting.
The Congress performance on the first day was lackluster and there seemed to be a lack of strategy to combat the AAP MLAs who embarrassed the Chief Minister and other ministers sitting next to him by waiving placards in their faces.
It was on the second day that AAP changed strategy and calmly allowed the question hour to take place before they launched a sharp attack on Congress on the issue of illegal sand mining. But this time Congress was better prepared. There ensued a slanging match between the Congress and AAP legislators with Brahm Mohindra leading the attack from the Congress side, aided by Local Bodies Minister Navjot Sidhu. However, the Khaira got plenty of support from his MLAs who took part in the high decibel shouting with much vigour.
Sunam MLA and state co-president of AAP, Aman Arora, said that the MLAs of the party have been striving to play a constructive role in the House. “Apart from the first day when it was necessary to raise the issue of the audio sting, we participated with full cooperation on the second day till the Congress brought in the resolution at the fag end,” he said.
The SAD-BJP alliance was outshouted by AAP during the session even as the alliance tried to stick to the issue of farm loan waiver and failure of the Congress government to fulfill its poll promises.