Cong out to pin down govt in the budget session
The 11-day budget session of the 14th Punjab assembly, beginning on Tuesday, is set to be a stormy affair. The state Congress is out to corner the SAD-BJP government on Punjab's poor fiscal health and other contentious issues, including the Operation Bluestar memorial at Harmandar Sahibchandigarh Updated: Jun 19, 2012 12:32 IST
The 11-day budget session of the 14th Punjab assembly, beginning on Tuesday, is set to be a stormy affair.
The state Congress is out to corner the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government on Punjab's poor fiscal health and other contentious issues, including the Operation Bluestar memorial at Harmandar Sahib and the Akalis' support to Balwant Singh Rajoana, on death row in the assassination case of then chief minister Beant Singh.
This would be the second assembly session of the coalition government, which took oath on March 14. The first session was a four-day affair which began on March 20.
Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD spokesman, said the Congress was trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.
"I think the Congress has been unable to recover from the shock it received after the loss in the assembly polls. And now they have lost the civic polls as well. Instead of looking into their own shortcomings and failures, they want to blame us for their political marginalisation in Punjab," added Dr Cheema.
"We don't know what kind of a budget the ruling alliance will present in the assembly. But the way the government is planning to impose property tax on people to enhance revenue generation, the state's fiscal situation does not look very healthy," said Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar.
The opposition will also try to put the government on the mat for its failure to fulfil promises made to the people during the assembly elections in January.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had promised to distribute laptops among students, unemployment allowance to jobless youth, Rs 2 lakh medical care for the poor, enhancement of shagun amount from Rs 15,000 to Rs 31,000 and other welfare schemes and educational incentives. Badal promised to fulfil all these promises at the first cabinet meeting after forming the new government. However, there have been as many as eight cabinet meetings since the government took over, but none of these promises have been kept so far.
Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh, who would be present during the session, said his party would take on the Akalis for appeasing radical elements.
"The Akalis have been supporting the Bluestar memorial and Rajoana, a convict in the Beant Singh assassination case. The law and order situation in the state has gone from bad to worse. Everyone is aware of the violence the Akalis perpetrated during the civic polls to wrest control of local bodies. Instead of dealing with the fiscal health, they are hard-pressed to explain the conviction of two cabinet ministers," said Amarinder.
Jakhar stated that even on the eve of the session's opening day, Congress legislators had no idea what bills the ruling alliance would introduce on the floor of the House. "We are being kept in the dark. What kind of healthy discussion the alliance expects from the Opposition when it delivers the agenda and the bills at the eleventh hour," he asked.
Minister for legislative affairs Ajit Singh Kohar admitted on Monday that assembly business material was earlier provided to legislators in the House at the last moment. "But now we have ensured that the bills which would come up for discussion are given to the members a couple of days before," he said. When informed that Congress legislators were yet to receive bills to be discussed, Kohar said he would discuss it with Vidhan Sabha officials on Tuesday.