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A clear division among political allies was visible on the first day of Budget Session of the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday when obituary reference to former DGP KPS Gill was made in the House. While SAD MLAs led by their party president Sukhbir Singh Badal walked out of the House in protest against the obituary reference, three MLAs of its ally BJP refused to follow suit. The BJP MLAs also did not join the SAD MLAs in slogan-shouting on the issue.
Similarly, AAP MLAs remained seated even as MLAs of its ally Lok Insaaf Party, the brother duo of Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains, walked out in protest on the same issue, shouting slogans against Gill.
However, AAP raised the issue of inclusion of the names of those debt-ridden farmers who had committed suicide in the obituary session. The matter was brought up by Baljinder Kaur, the MLA from Talwandi Sabo. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh got up at this stage and accepted the demand. Speaking in the House, AAP MLA Sukhpal Khaira said it was strange that Akalis were protesting against Gill though they had given plum postings to two of his “blue-eyed” officers.
Khaira also registered his protest against inclusion of Gill’s name in the obituary while citing “fake encounters” that took place during his tenure as the state DGP.
From the Congress side, Navjot Singh Sidhu lashed out at the Akalis, saying that the names of youths who had died during the Akali-BJP rule because of drug addiction should also be included in the obituary references. This too was agreed to by the House and Speaker Rana K P Singh.