Akali Dal-BJP and AAP facilitate smooth sailing for Amarinder government in Punjab
Chandigarh, November 28: It is a situation that any ruling party would wish for. It was the first sitting of the 2-functional sitting winter session of the Punjab Assembly today. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh watched in amusement as the two opposition parties fought it out among themselves rather than targeting the government. The summoning of AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira who is also the Leader of the Opposition by a Fazilka court in a drug smuggling case has completely rattled the party.
It was Lok Insaf Party MLA Simarjit Singh Bains, an ally of AAP, who had yesterday released an audio recording to allege covet operation involving a member of the judiciary in the case of summoning of Khaira. Some persons, including a known supporter of Khaira, have been convicted in this case. He had sought relief from the Punjab and Haryana High Court that has been denied to him. He was directed to appear before the trial court to seek bail. The allegation is regarding his petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Khaira accused Akali Dal president and Jalalabad MLA Sukhbir Singh Badal in the Assembly for masterminding this operation of payment of Rs 35 lakh to a member of the judiciary to deny him relief. AAP members had brought posters demanding CBI probe in this racket. This was the only main issue on which AAP focussed. Nothing wrong in case the party had taken up the concerns of the people too.
As soon as Khaira got up to raise his personal issue, the Akali Dal-BJP members got up and rushed to the well of the House demanding implementation of loan waiver for farmers as had been promised by the Congress in its manifesto. The effort of these protesting members was to shout down Khaira. However, they continued with the protest shouting slogans continuously till the House was adjourned for the day after passing some bills. This was much before the scheduled time of the sitting.
AAP staged a symbolic walk out demanding a week long session on the plea of taking up problems faced by the people. However, the main on which the party focussed related to the party leader Khaira rather than the people at large.
The raising of the issue by Khaira alleging payment of Rs 35 lakh to a member of the judiciary on the floor of the House involves a vital dimension. Here is an allegation that has been made on a member of the judiciary to target a political adversary and that too from the opposition on the floor of the House. This calls for interpretation within the framework of rules of business of the conduct of Vidhan Sabha.
The drug narrative has now shifted from Akali Dal to AAP. Earlier, the target of attack would be former revenue minister and now Akali Dal general secretary Bikram Singh Majitha. The entire election campaign of AAP revolved around this issue. However, it is AAP that is under attack for the same reason. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is in mute mode on this issue. Only one of his colleagues seemed to be vocally supporting him or voicing Khaira’s concerns in the Assembly as others just waived banners once or twice.
The entire AAP exercise seemed to be about settling issues with the Akali Dal. The Akali Dal had moved adjournment motion demanding implementation of loan waiver for farmers that was rejected. The party focussed on this single issue during protest in the Well.
A single sitting of the Punjab Assembly costs Rs 70 lakh.
There is little change in the ground situation in the state in 2017 as compared to 2016. The sand mafia is as active as before. Suicides by the farmers continue unabated.
The government should have been forced to allot time to discuss such issues rather than wasting public money to settle personal issues.
Khaira raised the issue of use of Punjabi on government sign boards but ironically, he voiced it in English. What a love for Punjabi.