The Senior Badal has moles in Punjab Congress! That is the googly the grand old man of Punjab politics chief minister Parkash Singh Badal bowled Thursday in the Vidhan Sabha, a wily move that visibly left many Congress leaders blushing and some protesting.
Much before his turn to wrap up the debate on the motion of thanks on the Governor's address, Badal told the House that Congress could stage a walkout and that he would be left to address the empty benches of the opposition.
This actually happened.
Thus, the chief minister began ambushing the Congress during the zero hour, after question hour. In his characteristic style and with folded hands, Badal began pleading that the Congress should not "boycott" his address later. "When the CLP leader was speaking I ensured nobody from our side resorts to disruptions," he said, urging the opposition to maintain decorum and let the House run smoothly.
"They will walk out during my speech," he predicted and added, "Neither Congress leaders have patience to listen to others nor do they have potential to speak."
Dubbing the Congress as "undisciplined" the chief minister said that the opposition was completely a divided house. "Leero leer ho gaye hun," he quipped.
Badal said, "If you boycott my address, people will say that Congress has run away from the battlefield. I know you are very disappointed after the high court expressed its satisfaction over the Punjab police-led investigation into the drug racket.
He added, "This attitude will harm you in the elections. Please review your decision of walking out when I will begin my address later in the day. Please don't walk out," said Badal.
The chief minister continued his sermon that "we will not listen to you" attitude is not good for the democracy.
Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "The debate cannot be a one-sided affair. At least, basic courtesy be extended to the leader of the House (Badal)."
This pin-pricking prompted CLP leader Sunil Jakhar to question Badal to disclose the source of his information that Congress would boycott or walk out. "Are we under surveillance?" asked Jakhar, demanding to know from which source Badal was gathering inside information of the Congress. "This proves that the entire government apparatus is keeping a watch on us," he said.
At this Badal delivered the final punch: "Don't blame the CID. Your men tell us within two minutes of what transpires in the CLP meeting. Your men tell us everything."