Congress MLAs came into direct confrontation with the SAD-BJP ruling alliance on Thursday for the latter’s support to the upcoming Bluestar memorial at Golden Temple in Amritsar and also 'zinda shaheed' title on Balwant Singh Rajoana, a death row convict in Beant Singh assassination case, forcing the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal to adjourn the ongoing budget session twice during the day.
The Opposition benches raised slogans against the SAD-BJP government and sat in the well of the House to mark their protest on the aforesaid contentious issues.
Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar raised the issue during Zero Hour and lambasted the ruling alliance for "playing into the hands of radical elements".
“Raising the memorial and support to Rajoana will only vitiate atmosphere and hard-earned peace in the state. Such acts will only create fear psychosis among different sections of society. I think the alliance is trying to do a balancing act by placating the hardliners after they claimed to have won the assembly polls by means of social engineering," said Jakhar.
Jakhar demanded both the SAD and BJP to separately clarify their stand on the two issues as these can affect law and order in the state. He lampooned the state BJP leaders for choosing to keep mum simply for their greed to stick to power.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal explained that peace and communal harmony in Punjab "is not only the top priority but the most sacred mission" for the SAD BJP Government. “We are fully alive to our constitutional and moral obligations in this regard and we are here to fulfill that. No one will be allowed to threaten these sacred goals,” said Badal.
However this did not satisfy the Opposition benches who wanted Badal to make a statement on the floor of the House if he supported the honouring of Rajoana at the Akal Takht, who has been also declared as a 'living martyr'.
All Congress legislators stood up and began raising slogans against the SAD-BJP government. They walked towards the well of the House while shouting slogans, 'Beant Singh amar rahe’, 'SAD-BJP government murdabad'.
The Congress MLAs also sat in the well of the House while raising slogans, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the assembly session for 45 minutes.
As soon as the House reassembled, the opposition benches reiterated their demand that the treasury benches clarify their stand on Rajoana.
While Badal did not turn up after the adjournment, Punjab health minister and BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal stood up to say that the BJP could not accept a "murderer to be called a martyr".
However after seeing that there was no statement coming from the Akalis, the Congress legislators again trooped into the well, raising slogans against the SAD-BJP government, after which the Speaker adjourned the House merely 20 minutes after it had reassembled.