The ongoing Budget Session of the Punjab Assembly today witnessed sparring between treasury benches and opposition members over the issues of sand mining and suspension of an AAP MLA. During the Zero Hour on the fourth day of the session, Leader of Opposition and AAP MLA H S Phoolka raised the issue of suspension of AAP MLA Sukhpal Khaira by the speaker for making a video of unruly scenes in the House and uploading it on Facebook. Phoolka, while seeking a review of the suspension, said, "When the session is not in progress, the speaker does not have the power to suspend any member. It is unconstitutional." When Speaker Rana Kanwarpal Singh did not pay any heed to Phoolka's request, the AAP MLA staged a walkout while other sitting party members wore black badges in protest. With former deputy chief minister and SAD President Sukhbir Badal attending the session today after skipping previous two days' proceedings, Akali MLA Ajit Singh Kohar sought a discussion on the sand mining issue which was rejected by the speaker. Then all the Akali Dal MLAs stormed into the Well of the House and raised anti-government slogans.
They later staged a walkout. Congress MLA Kulbir Singh Zira sought from Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh a vigilance probe into the "wastage of money" by the previous SAD-BJP regime for fulfilling Sukhbir's dream of launching an amphibious bus at Harike in Tarn Taran district. A heated exchange of words was also witnessed between Congress MLA Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and AAP MLA Aman Arora when former accused later's relative of being involved in cricket betting. In a calling attention notice, BJP MLA Som Prakash sought to draw the attention of the health minister towards the need of a policy for the treatment of thalassaemia and hepatitis C, to which the minister, Bram Mohindra, assured that steps would be taken in this regard. Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu through a calling attention notice tried to draw the attention of the chief minister the issue of excluding farmers of Mohali from the subsidy being provided on maize seeds under crop diversification programme of the Centre. Amarinder, in his reply, assured to take up the issue with the Centre. Congress MLA Kulbir Singh Zira brought a privilege motion against Simarjeet Bains, alleging that the Lok Insaaf Party MLA picked up and tore off some papers which were lying on his table during the Assembly session last week. The speaker then handed over to the privilege committee the matter against Bains who was suspended for throwing papers at the Chair last week, drawing stiff opposition from AAP MLAs who stood up. Later, while participating in a discussion on the governor's address, SAD MLA Bikram Singh Majithia took potshots at both the AAP and the ruling party Congress, leading to a verbal spat between him and members of the Congress and the AAP. While he took a jibe at the AAP for their claims of winning over a 100 seats in Assembly elections, the former minister took on the treasury benches for not honouring its promises which included debt waiver. Majithia claimed that the Congress in its poll manifesto had announced a debt waiver and Rs 10 lakh compensation to the families of farmers who committed suicide. While showing the Congress poll manifesto to members of treasury benches, Majithia launched a stinging attack against the ruling party leadership by using objectionable words, prompting the speaker to expunge his remarks. Majithia and Navjot Singh Sidhu engaged in a verbal duel as SAD MLA stepped up his attack against the Congress for not fulfilling its promises. When Majithia was not allowed to speak beyond the allotted time by the Speaker, he along with other party MLAs including his brother-in-law, Sukhbir, rushed to the Well and raised anti-speaker slogans. Papers were also thrown at the Chair. Then protesting MLAs staged a walkout. Congress MLA Sukhjinder Randhawa even told the chief minister that Majithia should have been in jail. Later while participating in the discussion on Governor's address, AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu sought royalty from the states for sharing river water by Punjab. He also urged the government to take appropriate steps to watch the state's interest in river water issue. Sandhu emphasised on the giving remunerative prices to farmers in order to improve their financial condition so that they do not resort to suicide.
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