The bitterness between the Akali-BJP and the Congress members was visible as soon as the Vidhan Sabha second-day proceedings began on Tuesday here with the question hour.
After it had decided to bring a no-confidence motion against the government, the Congress was expected to come charging at the ruling combine. However, a few fireworks later, the aggressive posturing of the opposition benches died down early into the session.
The first sign of aggression was after Congress legislator Preneet Kaur sought to know from food and civil supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon if fresh applications had been invited during the year to issue blue ration cards to the eligible families. She sought district-wise details of the applications received. When she stood up for seeking an answer, speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal asked her to sit down, saying she had missed her turn. When she insisted that she had not, and would want a reply, the speaker told her the minister required more time to prepare the answer, since “the information sought is lengthy”.
State CLP (Congress Legislature Party) leader Sunil Jakhar rose to the defence of Preneet and told the speaker that if the government departments could not prepare the answers in time, it was better that the house was dissolved. “It (the issue raised by Preneet) is a very serious issue and concerns a large number of poor families in the state,” said Jakhar.
On the defensive
When other Congress members began shouting at the treasury benches, Kairon stood up and said he was not running away from replying in the House. “Perhaps, the member should have sought details of 2012 and 2013. We have not invited applications for the blue cards in 2014. In three to four days, I will give her the complete answer,” said Kairon.
Preneet then sought to know details of the shagun scheme applications filed between 2012 and 2014 that were pending in Patiala district, and Jakhar again got up to ask the government when it would clear all 18,000 applications pending in the state. When rural development minister Sikander Singh Maluka failed to answer, Jakhar said: “You are not doing justice to your department and the public.”
Akali MLA Nirmal Singh asked local bodies minister Anil Joshi why Bassi Pathana sewerage system was still incomplete since the laying of the foundation stone in February under the urban infrastructure development scheme for small and medium towns. Again seizing a chance to corner the government, Jakhar said it had laid several foundation stones under that scheme that the BJP government at the Centre had withdrawn. “Will the government return the state exchequer its money spent on laying the foundation stones?” asked Jakhar.