Ruckus in Punjab Assembly, Cong MLA Suspended
The debate on law and order situation in the Punjab assembly today resulted in heated arguments between treasury and opposition benches leading to the suspension of a Congress legislator from the House.
The trouble broke out when cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, while participating in the debate started listing Congressmen outside Punjab allegedly embroiled in criminal cases forcing the opposition to stormed into the well of the House protesting the treasury member's accusations.
While the Congress flock led by CLP leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar was protesting in the well of the House raising slogans which were expunged by the Speaker, Bikram carried on with his diatribe against their leaders including those allegedly involved in cases in Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan, Delhi and Haryana.
Bikram remained the center of Congress target especially for the recent murder of a police officer allegedly by an Akali leader at Amritsar falling in Majha region of Punjab where the Minister enjoys a considerable clout.
Bikram accused Congress MLA and sugar baron Rana Gurjeet Singh Sodhi of getting at least 20 arms licences made from one single address of his "Ekta Bhawan" home at Kapurthala to help Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, who is under arrest in connection with the recent Chaddha brothers shootout case in Delhi.
He also mentioned that sitting Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu too is facing a murder case and another former MLA Avtar Singh Henry is not even a citizen of India.
Sodhi rushed towards Bikram to ask clarifications from him and both the MLAs allegedly hurled abuses over each other.
With situation turning out of control, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal adjourned the House for 30 minutes.
As the House re-assembled after the adjournment, Jakhar stood on his feet drawing the Speaker's attention towards "serious objections" on what Bikram allegedly said about a sitting MLA.
Coming in support of his brother-in-law, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal lambasted the Congress for calling the Minister a "criminal and murderer."
Sukhbir said, "We (treasury benches) will not allow the House to function till an apology comes from Congress side... Rana abused a Minister he should be suspended from the House."
Intervening in the matter, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal moved a motion seeking suspension of Rana from the House for using an abusive language and threatening a Minister.
"Either you (Congress) apologise or Rana will be suspended," the Speaker told the opposition while putting the motion to vote.
However, Rana did not budge after which he was suspended from the remaining sittings of the House scheduled till Friday.
Immediately after the verdict of the Speaker, Congress MLAs trooped out of the assembly.
Bikram later continued with his views on law and order with empty opposition benches.
Later interacting with media in the press lounge of the assembly, Jakhar adopted a strong posture demanding Bikram's dismissal as a Minister for the alleged abusive language against a Congress MLA.
Jakhar announced the CLP will boycott the remaining sittings of the House to express solidarity with their MLA.
Describing the Speaker's functioning as "biased," he said the Congress will gherao him outside assembly tomorrow.
In the press lounge both the ruling and the opposition parties led by their leaders separately traded charges against each other on hurling abuses.
"I have not said anything to anyone...Since my name came up in Bikram's speech I was on a point of personal clarification," Rana said, adding, he had no links with Namdhari and had not recommended issuance of licences for him as was alleged by Bikram.
Refuting the Congress claim on use of foul language, Sukhbir said Jakhar's speech on law and order was useless.
"He didn't have any specific issue to speak out... He just referred to two cases - one a shoot out of a police officer at Amritsar and alleged abduction of a minor from Faridkot which hogged limelight in the recent past," he said.
"The Congress has lost its credibility... Knowing it their leader has nothing to speak on law and order they just derailed the proceedings of the House by levelling false accusations against Bikram," he said.
"How can they use abusive language against a Minister and label him a criminal and murderer," Sukhbir said.
An infuriated Bikram told media he respected the person (Rana) due to his old age. "Had it been some one else and matter was outside the assembly, things would have been different," he added.
"Rana has a personal grudge against me as he lost the MP elections from Tarn Taran, in Majha belt of Punjab," he said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh, who was absent from the House, later issued a statement condemning the suspension of his party MLA from the assembly.
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