The logjam between the ruling alliance and the Opposition over suspension of nine Congress MLA scontinued for the fourth consecutive day Monday as Congress continued to boycott the Punjab Assembly even as the treasury benches made an appeal asking the Opposition to shed its policy of confrontation and apologise to participate in the House proceedings.
As the House met,Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the Congress members should tender an apology for their conduct. Had I been in their (Congress) place,I would have taken a minute to say sorry, he said in the House,while urging Speaker Charanjeet Singh Atwal to use his good offices to get the Congress back into the house. I feel sad that the benches here are empty, he said.
The Speaker met the Congress leadership for an informal meeting in the evening and put forth the the CMs request. The Congress,led by Sunil Jakhar,however,made it clear that their MLAs would not apologise before the House for having highlighted a just cause. They however agreed to apologise to the Vidhan Sabha staff member whom some MLAs had beaten up on March 13.
The entry of the suspended MLAs into the House without an apology is,however,unacceptable to the treasury benches. It would set a wrong precedent. A message will go that anyone can do anything inside the House and get away with it. They should apologize and participate. What is the problem in apologising? If you allow me,I can go to their (opposition) side and apologise on their behalf,Badal said.
With all their efforts spent in trying to get the session back on track,the treasury benches seemed resigned to go solo for the rest of the budget session. In the absence of any Opposition in the House the discussion on the governors address ended uneventfully with the chief ministers speech. The motion of thanks to the Governor was passed before the days proceedings ended.
The day began with the Speaker quoting from the rules of the House that disallowed anyone to hold a parallel assembly within the premises of the Vidhan Sabha. He explained why the Opposition was denied permission to hold a mock assembly within the building. Later parliamentary affairs minister Madan Mohan Mittal also moved a condemnation resolution against the Congress MLAs for holding a mock assembly session inside the Vidhan Sabha.
After the question hour that ended in 20 minutes,the chief minister got up to speak. There are three things that the Congress has done. One,they got unauthorised persons inside the Assembly. They showed disrespect to the Speakers chair and lastly they beat up a government official. They should apologize for these and participate in the working of the house, he said.
Their attitude is not of regret. Have you heard of a mock assembly? They are under orders to follow the policy of confrontation. They should confront us politically by remaining inside the House. They should criticize us. Maybe we will learn some things, he added.