Opposition Congress continued to boycott the Punjab assembly for the fifth consecutive day today,holding a “mock session” outside the Assembly complex to protest suspension of nine of its members last week.
Treasury benches remained adamant that the Congress members should tender an apology for their conduct against the Chair last week,while the opposition criticised the ruling Akalis at a parallel mock session held in the parking lot outside the Assembly complex.
In the absence of the opposition,the Question Hour lasted for just ten minutes,after which the House took up the financial business amid boycott by Congress MLAs.
At the mock session,Ashwani Sekhri of Congress said,”What Congress did is correct and under no circumstances we will tender an apology”.
The mock Congress session passed a resolution demanding an apology from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for “throwing” the opposition members outside the House.
The party MLAs,referring to media reports,also demanded an apology from Badal for allegedly tossing the turban of the then speaker Surjeet Singh Minhas in 1986 during a ruckus inside the House.
Congress session’s mock Speaker Jagmohan Singh Kang,who had occupied the Speaker’s chair immediately after House adjournment on last Wednesday,constituted a three-member committee to probe Badal’s role in 1986 and submit its report
by tomorrow on what action could be taken against Badal.
Leader of Opposition Sunil Kumar Jakhar ridiculed the Chief Minister’s claim of taking up the turban issue with the French authorities who imposed a ban on wearing it in schools.”Will Badal apologise for what he did in 1986,” Jakhar said during the mock session.
Sekhri justified the role of Congress MLAs in bringing the victim of police assault in Tarn Taran to the House on last Wednesday,which the treasury benches had dubbed as “illegal”.
During the mock session,the Congress MLAs accused Badal of misguiding people by his comments against former Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh inside the House yesterday.
Laal Singh said Amarinder was not removed on a bitter note as Punjab Congress Chief,in fact he had himself offered his resignation. The Congress MLAs also castigated the ruling Akalis for their “partisan” role towards media by allowing selective private channel to cover proceedings of the House.
The Congress session demanded that the cases registered against farmers for their protest recently be withdrawn in the interest of the farming community.
On March 14,nine Congress MLAs were suspended by Punjab Assembly Speaker Charanjeet Singh Atwal for the rest of budget session for unparliamentary behaviour. Besides,15 Congress MLAs were booked by police for assaulting a cop inside the assembly complex the same day.
Badal has been demanding that the Congress members should tender an apology for their conduct of denigrating the chair,assaulting a public servant and bringing some unauthorised persons into the Assembly complex.
“They (Congress MLAs) should maintain decorum and should not hold dharna,protests and mock assembly inside the Assembly complex. This is against the rules,” Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal had ruled yesterday.