SAD, AAP reduced Assembly to battleground: Pb Congress

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar today alleged that the Akalis and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had played a "fixed match" in the run up to the Assembly polls and doing the same thing in the Assembly.

Members of the opposition SAD-BJP and the AAP walked out of the Punjab Assembly yesterday to protest the "denigration of Sikh principles" the day before when some MLAs were forcibly evicted from the house.

"Both the parties had reduced the Assembly to a battleground due to their inter and intra-party power tussle," Jakhar said at a conference here.

He lashed out at the opposition for "making a mockery" of the Assembly and demanded an unconditional apology from them for "undermining the sanctity" of the House and the Speaker.

Jakhar asked since the nexus between the SAD and the AAP has been exposed, will Sukhbir Singh Badal withdraw the defamation case against Arvind Kejriwal, who had accused ex- minister Bikram Singh Majithia of drug smuggling.

He asked will the former chief minister apologise for making derogatory statement against the Speaker and will he come to the Vidhan Sabha to take charge of the Opposition.

Asked why the Congress government had did not arrest Majithia, Jakhar said the government could not act merely by perception, adding it has to follow the due process of law.

The Congress government is systematically initiating inquiries and action against mafias who had mushroomed during the Akali rule, he said, adding the government will not be vindictive but no mafia would be spared.

On the ruckus during the budget session of the Assembly which ended yesterday, Jakhar said Parkash Singh Badal had not been coming to the House and the AAP was suffering because of its internal power tussle.

The power struggle in the SAD would intensify in the coming days as SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar is trying to establish a foothold in the political arena. The Badals have failed to give the SAD the much-needed leadership, he said.

The Congress leader said he would urge the Speaker and the Chief Minister to create an "honorary Opposition leader position" in the Assembly, as Badal was finding it difficult to attend the proceedings due to an identity crisis after being relegated to the third place in the House.

He also requested the Speaker to be lenient towards the AAP members as most of them are first-timers in the Assembly.

Asserting that the language used by Sukhbir Singh Badal against the Speaker as "most unfortunate", Jakhar said the former deputy chief minister had exploited the inexperience of AAP MLAs to his advantage and was crying over something that was of his own making.

Jakhar also accused Majithia of trying to communalise the turban issue and urged the Akalis not to indulge in such acts.

On Thursday, when the speaker had ordered that AAP MLAs be taken out of the Assembly by marshals, turbans of some of the members had come off in the melee.

The entire incident was unfortunate, but the fact was that during the Akali rule, Congress MLAs were stopped by the speaker from entering the Assembly premises, Jakhar alleged.

"Nobody wanted forcible eviction and, in fact, the Speaker showed remarkable restraint.... The step was taken only after all his pleas fell on deaf ears," he said.

Jakhar further said Sukhbir crossed the House floor thrice during the Assembly session and could have be debarred on technical grounds, but neither the Speaker nor the ruling party made an issue of it.

The state congress chief alleged, "The entire drama was enacted during the budget session to prevent the government from making important announcements."

However, both the government and the Congress have sent out a strong message that all the poll promises would be kept, he said.

Jakhar said the manner in which the chief minister has fulfilled the farm loan waiver promise, despite the state finances being in in a pitiful state, was commendable and should be appreciated even by the Badals.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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