The Punjab assembly on Wednesday witnessed repeated disruptions and unruly scenes with Opposition members indulging in sloganeering and some of them even standing on their seats and storming into the Well besides tearing copies of Bills tabled in the House. Speaker Rana K P Singh even admonished members of the Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party for trying to disrupt the House proceedings and disturbing the Vidhan Sabha employees’ work during their protest. The trouble started when Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal was winding up his reply to the debate on budget estimates on the concluding day of the Punjab Assembly.
Akali legislators left their seats and stood near Badal’s when he was speaking about the debt position of the state. They started raising slogans against the Congress-led government over the state budget.
The Speaker told SAD leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon that the way Akali members were behaving in the House was wrong. Members of the AAP too left their seats and stormed the Well of the House and started raising slogans.
Amid slogan-shouting by the SAD and AAP members, the Speaker asked Badal to continue his address. Some members of the AAP even reached too close to the FM, prompting the Speaker to warn them of their against going near the minister. The Speaker also banged his gavel to warn them.
Badal continued his speech despite Opposition members indulging in sloganeering at the top of their voice. When Akali and AAP members were protesting, the Speaker asked them not to disturb the Assembly employees, apparently referring to the disturbance caused to the Vidhan Sabha reporters in recording the proceeding of the House.
Punjab Minister Charanjit Singh Channi later accused SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia of trying to provoke the finance minister to enter into an argument by standing near him and not walking into the well of the House. After FM Badal finished his reply to the debate and the Bills began to be tabled, the Akali and AAP members walked out of the House.
But some AAP members soon returned to the House and some of them wanted to speak something when the Punjab Motor Vehicle Taxation (Amendment) Bill 2021 was being tabled. The Speaker, however, did not allow them to speak and they burst into another round of protest, prompting the Speaker to warn them yet again and remark that they disregarded the House.
Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, AAP MLAs Sarvjit Kaur Manuke, Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Jai Kishan Singh Rori stood up on their seats and protested against the Speaker who told them that they had tried to disrupt the proceedings of the House. They then stormed the well of the House, tore copies of the Bills in their hands and threw them up in the air before staging another walkout.
Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu asserted that the members of the House should maintain decorum in the House while pointing towards the AAP members who were standing up on their seats. We are sent here for discussions, he said. Sidhu suggested the Speaker to allow a live telecast of the proceedings of the House to put a stop to such unruly scenes.
They will not do that when the proceedings of the House go live, he said. Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and MLA Gurkirat Singh Kotli also backed Sidhu’s proposal.