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Punjab Budget session, Day 2: Congress seeks House resolution for early SGPC polls

SAD MLA from Lehra, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, said the Congress government had no intention of holding the SGPC elections and that this is quite clear by the manner in which they were treating the Chief Commissioner (Gurdwara Elections).

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
March 3, 2021 10:27:46 am
SAD MLA Bikramjit Singh Majithia outside Vidhan Sabha on the second day of Punjab Budget Session in Chandigarh. (Express Photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

The issue of pending elections of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) resonated in the Vidhan Sabha with the ruling Congress favouring a resolution to be passed by the House demanding early conduct of the polls while the Akalis accused the state government of causing obstructions in the way of the Chief Commissioner (Gurdwara Elections).

The matter cropped up during the discussion on the Governor’s address when the Congress MLA from Patti, Harminder Singh Gill, demanded that the House should pass a resolution that the SGPC elections be held soon.

Gill made the demand while attacking the SGPC over certain appointments made in the committee alleging that a person who had lost the SGPC polls was given a prominent administrative position in the committee.

Attacking Gill soon after, the SAD MLA from Lehra, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, said that the Congress government had no intention of holding the SGPC elections and that this is quite clear by the manner in which they were treating the Chief Commissioner (Gurdwara Elections) who has not been given an office or staff several months after his appointment.

“Congress and BJP are hand in glove. They do not want the SGPC elections to be held,” Dhindsa said.

AAP MLA from Kotkapura Kultar Singh Sandhwan too attacked the Congress over SGPC elections. “Those who sell drugs and liquor should not get elected to SGPC. What did you people do to stop drug sellers? You should give office and staff to the Gurdwara Election Commissioner,” Sandhwan said.

Exchange of bitter words

A sharp exchange took place between Harminder Singh Gill and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Bikram Singh Majithia after the latter used a term to describe Gill. The word was expunged from the proceedings by the Speaker but this sparked off a counter-attack by Gill who then proceeded to name Majithia’s forefathers and their alleged role in Sikh history.

The bitter exchange of words started when the SAD MLA from Muktsar, Kanwarjit Singh ‘Rozy’ Barkandi, objected to Gill’s reference to the recently concluded local bodies polls which were won by the Congress. Gill said that the Congress used high-handed methods in the polls and that false cases were registered against Akali workers.

The Speaker, Rana K P Singh, repeatedly asked the members not to get personal but this had no effect as several Akali MLAs got up from their seats and objected to Gill targeting the forefathers of Majithia.

‘Congress armtwisted farmers instead of supporting them’

Speaking during the debate, AAP MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan said that the Congress had failed to come to the rescue of the farmers in the ongoing agitation against the three farm laws.

“Kisana di baan fadan di bajaye Congress ne onna di baan marodi ae (Instead of supporting the farmers, Congress has twisted their arm),” Sandhwan said.

He also highlighted the fact that the Punjab Police is targeting those journalists who were exposing the drugs mafia in the state and are arresting them in false cases. “Press is not free in Punjab,” he said.

Sandhwan also raised the issue of defunct health cards issued by the state government alleging that they did not work in many hospitals. He also alleged that it was difficult to get admission in Faridkot Medical College and Hospital using those cards. Health Minister Balbir Sidhu countered him by saying that the private hospitals named by Sandhwan were not empanelled under the scheme to which the latter said that this was because the state government does not release payments on time.

Dire state of Punjab as CM is absent: SAD

SAD MLA from Sanaur Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra said the state was facing crises because Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is absent from duty and he does not attend office.

He also attacked the Chief Minister for failing to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of the farmers’ protests.

“The CM has not taken any time to meet the PM on the farmers’ issue. It casts doubts on him. It was expected that he would do so. Congress will have to answer why this had not happened,” Chandumajra said.

He said that it did not behove a senior politician like Amarinder to make false promises by swearing on Gutka Sahib. He said the state was reeling under steep fuel prices which were the highest amongst the neighbouring states.

“The Finance Minister keeps saying that the state is under heavy debt and the treasury is hard pressed for funds. This is because of mismanagement,” Chandumajra said.

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