LOCAL BODIES Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu had yet another run-in with the opposition in the Assembly on Wednesday when the SAD-BJP MLAs protested against his use of intemperate language against a Dalit MLA and forced the House to adjourn. Adampur MLA Pawan Kumar Tinnu vehemently objected to Sidhu referring to him as “Eho jeya member (A member like this)” and threw a booklet at Sidhu before rushing to the well of the House in anger. Tinnu told Speaker Rana K P Singh that the Congress minister was repeatedly using bad language for the Akali MLAs and the Speaker was turning a blind eye to it. The spat took place when Sidhu was answering a question from Tinnu regarding the state of sewerage treatment plant in his constituency.
The SAD-BJP MLAs shouted slogans against the Speaker and Sidhu in the well of the House and Congress MLAs rushed to Sidhu’s aide.
The Speaker tried to assure the protesting MLAs that he would have the record examined and expunge any inappropriate words but the MLAs did not relent and staged a walkout. When the MLAs returned, Sukhbir Singh Badal accused Sidhu of not maintaining decorum.
“The minister does not maintain decorum in the House. He does not talk properly with the opposition MLAs. We are not enemies, we have all come to the House after getting elected from various parties. This is not the way a minister can behave in the House.” The SAD-BJP MLAs got unxpected support from the Leader of Opposition, H S Phoolka, who also expressed unhappiness at the manner in which Sidhu had been conducting himself in the House.
“It is unfortunate that the minister makes such remarks,” said Phoolka, referring to a remark that he alleged that Sidhu had made towards AAP MLAs while walking out from the house. Addressing a press conference after the adjournment, Sidhu clarified that he never made any remark about AAP and that some other MLA had said those words which have been attributed to him.
“All I had said was that ‘tussi taan chitta vecheya nahi tussi kyu bahar jaa rahe ho (You have not sold chitta why are you leaving the House)’ and I stand by these words,” he said.
Lashing out at Sukhbir, Sidhu said the Akalis were in no position to lecture him about decorum in the House because they themselves had been abusing the Speaker and hurling paper missiles at him. “Let Sukhbir speak about the cable, transport and sand mafia during their rule. I will not fight with any Tinnu-Minnu. Where is Sardar Badal,” he said referring to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who has not been attending the House.
Flanked by Congress MLAs Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Pargat Singh, Sidhu said he would take the SAD-BJP members to the cleaners.
“I am not a coward. Facts will not cease to exist if they are ignored,” he said.
When Sidhu attempted to leave the press conference after delivering his diatribe, mediapersons objected, saying he could not leave after delivering a speech. Also, he was questioned on why Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was going slow against Bikram Singh Majithia even though Congress MLAs were levelling allegations against him inside the House.
“No one is above the law,” said Sidhu even as he skirted the issue, saying it was up to the chief minister to take action.