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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Punjab: For disrupting proceedings, SAD MLAs suspended for rest of Budget session

Speaker Rana KP Singh repeatedly asked the opposition members to hear out the CM and then raise their objections. The House was twice adjourned for 15 minutes each as the Akali MLAs refused to relent.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
March 6, 2021 8:32:13 am
sad mlas budget session suspendedShiromani Akali Dal members protest after being suspended from the Vidhan sabha for the rest of the Budget session, in Chandigarh on Friday. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

The Shiromani Akali Dal members were on Friday suspended for the remaining part of the Budget Session of the Punjab Assembly for disrupting the proceedings of the House. Later, marshals evicted the suspended MLAs.

Soon after Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh began his reply to the Governor’s address, the Akali MLAs, led by senior leader Bikram Singh Majithia, twice rushed to the well of the House and raised slogans.

On the first occasion, they were accompanied by Aam Aadmi party (AAP) members, led by Leader of Opposition Harpal Cheema, and were protesting against the CM’s comments on the Congress win in the recently concluded local bodies polls.

The second time, only Akali MLAs gathered in the well and raised slogans against the CM after he latter made a mention of low power tariffs offered to industrialists and free power to farmers.

Akali member NK Sharma said that a flat rate for power tariff had been charged from business owners even for the duration when the state was under lockdown and all businesses, shops and industries were closed. He also raised the issue of high tariff being paid by industrialists, which belied the government’s claim of giving them cheap power.

Speaker Rana KP Singh repeatedly asked the opposition members to hear out the CM and then raise their objections. The House was twice adjourned for 15 minutes each as the Akali MLAs refused to relent.

When the House reconvened after the first adjournment, the Speaker repeatedly warned the Akali members. “I will name you and remove you from the House…for the rest of the three days of the session…. Do not force me. If you think you will not let the House function then it is my ‘dharma’ to run the House and I will run it,” said the Speaker.

When the Akali MLAs still did not pay heed to him, the Speaker made yet another request. “Sit on your seats. You cannot protest on every point. I will request the CM to answer your points. What message are you sending to the world that you will not let the House function,” said Rana KP Singh.

At this point the Akalis staged a walkout but returned a short while later when the CM resumed his speech and made a reference to a letter written by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal to him in which he supported the three farm ordinances and accused the CM of misleading the farmers.

He also quoted statements made by Akali MP Harsimrat Badal as late as 10 days before her resignation from the union cabinet in which she supported the farm laws.

Majithia interrupted saying that facts will not change if the CM misleads the House. “Where was Sonia and Rahul Gandhi when the voting on the farm laws was taking place in Parliament,” he asked. This resulted in an uproar from the treasury benches.

Noting that the SAD MLAs “have disrespected the Chair and ignored a request made four times to them,” the Speaker the Speaker first named all the Akali members and suspended them for the remaining part of the session. He asked them to leave the House and adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes.

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