Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu today lost his cool when Shiromani Akali Dal MLAs interrupted him during the Question Hour, and took them on by saying the previous SAD-BJP regime had "looted Punjab". The situation became tense when several Congress MLAs, who came out in the minister's support, and Akali lawmakers exchanged heated words and nearly came to blows. During the the Question Hour, Sidhu was replying to a query on steps taken by the government to develop a bird sanctuary at Harike. As the Tourism and Culture Minister was reading out his answer, Akali members interrupted him by shouting slogans against the government. Yesterday, the SAD-BJP members had accused Sidhu of using abusive words against them in the House. Sidhu, struggling to match the volume of protesters, got angry and tried to speak over the din. He then hit out at SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. "Sukhbir forced his father to buy amphibious bus for Harike project. If he really desired to run buses, he should have allowed state-owned PRTC buses to run on the roads. They looted Punjab." Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was present in the House when the unruly scenes were witnessed. Leader of opposition and AAP MLA H S Phoolka even tried to intervene into the matter to calm frayed tempers. Later talking to mediapersons, he lashed out at the Shiromani Akali Dal, saying they had no issue to raise in the House and said they are like a "rudderless ship". "Badals cannot debate in the House and they sent their pawns," he said. "A sum of Rs 10 crore was spent on the amphibious bus.
The ex-deputy CM (Sukhbir) in a bid to operate his amphibious bus, got water released from Ropar Headworks which submerged the crops of 5,000 farmers and 7,000 farmers committed suicide. Now his party MLAs are crying hoarse about the rights of farmers," he claimed. Sidhu then launched a raft of allegations against the Badal family. He said after assuming power, the family's fortunes grew "leaps and bounds". "They had two buses initially and now they posses 650 buses. How did these buses come," he asked. "The number of their private buses and a close aide of theirs made the time tables of the buses which caused enormous loss to the PRTC," Sidhu claimed adding that the previous regime allotted tenders worth Rs 800 crore to a single bidder. Earlier, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who was accompanying Sidhu, also condemned the behavior of the Akali members in the House. "Akali Dal is running away from debate in the House. They do not have anything to say that is why there are resorting to such gimmicks," said Manpreet.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)