With 16 out of 20 Punjab MPs staying away, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s initiative of getting all state parliamentarians together to take up issues in upcoming session of Lok Sabha turned out a damp squib on Wednesday.
Except three Congress and a suspended MP of Aam Aadmi Party, all others, including the three Rajya Sabha MPs of Congress, stayed away from the meeting. Only recently elected Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar, Amritsar MP G S Aujla, Chaudhary Santokh from Jalandhar and Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, the suspended AAP MP from Patiala, came to attend the meeting chaired by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra.
Congress’s Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu also did not turn up for the meeting that discussed raising issue of Rs 31,000 crore food scam, and railway tracks, especially in Majha region, besides over a dozen other issues. While Shiromani Akali Dal MPs had already made it clear they would not attend the meeting as the CM was himself staying away, even the Congress MPs did not cooperate.
Former PPCC Partap Singh Bajwa and Rajya Sabha MP Shamsher Singh Dullo had already announced the boycott on Tuesday, while another Congress member of the Upper House Ambika Soni did not turn up. Bittu’s absence was also a surprise. Congress leaders were hoping SAD MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, whose son had joined Congress ahead of Assembly elections and was elected an MLA, would attend the meeting. But he did not.
Jakhar addressed media before the start of the meeting and spoke for Amarinder stating that his gesture to get all MPs together was in the best interests of the state. Jakhar said the CM was indisposed and hence he could not chair the meeting but he had assigned an eight-time MLA and senior most Congress leader in Mohindra to chair the meeting.
Jakhar advised Bajwa and Dullo to take up the party issues at party platform and not at an all-party meeting. He said both the leaders were very senior and they very well knew how to raise issues. He said more such all-party meetings would be organised in future and the CM would be attending them. Out of 20 MPs in Punjab, Congress has four in LS and three in RS.