M A I N   N E W S

Day after Assembly chaos, 9 Cong MLAs suspended
Jangveer Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, March 14
Nine Congress legislators were today suspended from the Punjab Assembly for the remainder of the budget session. The House had witnessed acrimonious scenes yesterday with Congress legislators taking over the Speaker’s chair after leading a protest against a “raid” on the office of Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar.

The watch and ward staff led by police officers had entered the CLP leader’s office to check on the Tarn Taran police assault victim who had unauthorisedly been brought into the Assembly by Jakhar.

Those suspended include former minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, who took over the Speaker’s chair, Charanjit Singh Channi, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Rana Gurjit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Randhawa, Parminder Singh Pinky, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Kuljit Singh Nagra.

Sources said Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal first suspended the nine legislators for a day. But the SAD-BJP alliance hardened its stance on the issue over two things - One Jakhar tried to move a privilege motion against yesterday’s alleged trespass by the police on his office when the House reassembled this morning and second there was lack of “remorse” on part of the CLP leader and the legislators responsible for the unruly scenes yesterday.

Senior leaders approached SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal saying the party must take harder stance against those responsible for the “lawlessness. Subsequently, the Treasury Benches started the process of creating the ground for strict action by insisting in their addresses in the House that a day’s suspension was not commensurate with the “crime” committed by the Congress legislators.

The Treasury Benches also made the manhandling of a policeman doing watch and ward staff duty a “Dalit” issue by alleging that the Congress legislators knew they were attacking a “Dalit’ but did not care less.

This was apparently done to neutralise the impression created by the Congress yesterday that it was only helping a Dalit girl who was a victim of police brutality. Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia led this charge.

A resolution was moved to censure the CLP leader for his irresponsible behaviour. This included targeting Jakhar for getting the assault victim into the House without a pass. Jakhar faced censure on this account from Parliamentary Affairs Minister and BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal.

Mittal said Rule 97 under which the Speaker had the power to suspend a member for one day for misbehaviour could be suspended to allow vote on an extended suspension. The Speaker allowed the House to vote for suspending Rule 97 and then vote on a motion to suspend the nine Congress legislators for the duration of the budget session for “deliberately obstructing the proceedings of the House”.

In the absence of the Congress legislators, who failed to return to the Assembly after the House was adjourned in the morning over the suspension of their colleagues for one day, the SAD-BJP legislators got up to vote for the suspension of the nine legislators for the entire duration of the session.





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