SHIROMANI AKALI Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs attempted to disrupt the speech of Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal during a discussion on the Budget in Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday, shouting slogans in front of his seat even as the Speaker banged his gavel furiously and asked them to desist from such tactics. An AAP MLA even stood up on his seat and shouted slogans.
Later, when the Bills were being passed, the AAP MLAs gathered in the Well and tore up copies of the Bill after the Speaker did not allow them to raise their objections because of their earlier unruly behaviour.
SAD MLAs were the first to take exception to the explanations being given by the finance minister over the budgetary provisions in which he rebutted the Opposition’s allegations that he had muddled figures. After questioning him on various points, to all of which him responded, the Akalis gathered in the Well of the House, right in front of Badal’s seat and shouted slogans against the Congress government.
Soon, AAP MLAs led by Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema also joined the Akalis in the Well. Initially, the AAP MLAs stood facing the Speaker as they shouted slogans but gradually, a couple of them including the LoP inched back to stand in front of Manpreet Badal.
The Speaker took umbrage at this development and cautioned the Akalis and the LoP. “Dhillon saab (Sharanjit Dhillon, leader of SAD legislative group) you cannot do this. Cheema saab you cannot stand in front of the finance minister,” he said.
The opposition MLAs were standing and shouting around the Vidhan Sabha employees, known as ‘reporters’, who take down the proceedings of the House in shorthand. These employees were forced to get up from their seats and move to the coners in order to note down the goings on.
The Speaker deplored the actions of the MLAs. “Do not disturb the employees of Vidhan Sabha. There is a manner in which you can protest. Vidhan Sabha employees had to leave because of you,” he said.
Even as the finance minister continued to make his speech, the SAD and AAP MLAs continued to holler and shout at him. AAP MLA from Kotkapura, Kultar Singh Sandhwan climbed atop a chair and started shouting slogans.
Later, SAD MLAs walked out in protest against the Budget while AAP MLAs followed suit a little later. However, AAP MLAs were back in the House when the Bills were being taken up for consideration.
The MLAs tried to speak on some of the Bills to which they had objected, but were not allowed to speak. The Speaker said, “You did not let the House run, I will not listen to you.” At this stage, the AAP MLAs tore up copies of the Bills and threw them in the air and walked out.