The opening sitting of the Punjab assembly's four-day monsoon session on Friday lasted 16 minutes with the House paying rich tributes to former President APJ Abdul Kalam, July 27 Gurdaspur terror attack victims and other two-dozen eminent personalities who passed away in the recent past.
In what is called the "obituary references", the House in its opening sitting remembers all eminent people who have died during the interim period of the last and current sitting of the assembly.
Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal led the House in paying tributes to Kalam and others and the members of the assembly also observed a two-minute silence as mark of respect to the departed souls.
Recalling the services of Kalam, who died on July 27, Atwal listed the achievements of the 'Missile Man of India'.
The House also remembered Suvra Mukherjee, the late wife of President Pranab Mukherjee.
The House paid homage to superintendent of police Baljit Singh, home guard volunteers Des Raj, Bodh Raj and Sukhdev Singh, besides civilians Amarjit Singh, Nirmala Devi and Gulam Rasool, who were killed by the Pakistani terrorists before and during the Dinanagar police station siege.
The House recalled the services of former Congress minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, former MLA Gopal Krishan Chatrath, 10 freedom fighters, including Bhagwan Singh-INA soldier-who was 104.
The founder of Hero group OP Munjal, social worker Savdesh Chopra, religious leader Bishop Simforum Kipearth Thomas and eminent artist Nek Chand were also mentioned in the obituary references.
The speaker also paid tributes to pilgrims who were killed in the building collapse at the Manikaran gurdwara in Kullu district of Himachal Pardesh.
Meanwhile, Congress MLAs Balbir Singh Sidhu and Ajit Inder Singh Mofar asked the speaker to include the names of the farmers who had committed suicides due to debt in the obituary references. However, the speaker disallowed their plea.
The House was adjourned after 16 minutes of proceedings for the day and will meet on Monday afternoon.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was conspicuous by his absence, while 25 Congress MLAs and 48 SAD-BJP MLAs and ministers, including chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, attended the first sitting of the session.
Minutes before the House proceedings began, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in his inimitable style with folded hands briskly walked up to the opposition benches and greeted the Congress MLAs. Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar who was sitting, immediately got up, left his seat and touched the CM's feet. The chief minister reached out to other Congress leaders on the front row such as former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Lal Singh and Brahm Mohindra before taking his seat.
The pleasantries exchanged notwithstanding, it was probably the proverbial lull before the storm that is likely to dominate the House proceedings on Monday afternoon.