Uproar as Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann uses padlock to keep Opposition in House : The Tribune India

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Uproar as Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann uses padlock to keep Opposition in House

Uproar as Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann uses padlock to keep Opposition in House

Tribune photo



Sanjeev Singh Bariana & Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4

Pandemonium was witnessed on the second day of the Budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today with treasury and Opposition members engaging in sharp exchanges amidst allegations and counter-allegations of lowering the standards of expected discussions in the House.

Unruly scenes were witnessed right at the outset when Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann presented a padlock to Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan “as a symbol for his desire to keep the Opposition inside the House during the proceedings”.

CLP Leader Partap Singh Bajwa reacted sharply to the “provocation” and both leaders traded personal remarks. Legislators from the treasury benches came close to getting physical with Bajwa, but members from both sides intervened to avoid an unpleasant situation. At this, the Speaker adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

Will ensure they don’t walk out

I will speak the truth, which they (Oppn) won’t tolerate. Use this padlock so that they don’t run out of House during discussion. —CM Bhagwant Mann to Speaker

As the proceedings resumed, Opposition MLAs entered the well of the House and raised slogans for nearly four hours protesting CM’s padlock gesture. The Congress, however, found itself in a trap as the treasury benches’ floor strategy to target the Opposition seemed working amid live telecast of the session. At one point, the CM took a swipe at Dalit Congress MLA Sukhwinder Kotli saying he was suffering from “fits”, prompting the Congress to stage a walkout. They alleged the remark was “anti-Dalit” and amounted to murder of democracy. Kotli had sought to know from the CM about his promise of appointing a Dalit Deputy CM.

Earlier, in a departure from the norm, Speaker Sandhwan allowed the business of the day to begin with a discussion on the Governor’s address, rather than the usual Question Hour.

Taking on the Congress, the CM sought to know from the Speaker as to how the Opposition was dictating the House. “They want to run the House as per their rules. They come here holding placards and raise slogans. They say sessions are small. Now a 15-day session is being held and they are not letting the House function. This is why people have taught them a lesson and reduced them to 16-17 seats. Next time these will also go,” the CM said, addressing the Speaker.

Later, Local Government Minister Balkar Singh moved a privilege motion against Congress MLAs for disrupting Governor’s address on March 1, and lowering the dignity of the House. The motion has been referred to the privileges committee.


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