Several senior Congress leaders hit back on Tuesday at Akali ministers Bikram Singh Majithia and Gulzar Singh Ranike for allegedly trying to distort the legislative record of the former chief minister and party candidate from Amritsar Captain Amarinder Singh.
Seeking to turn the tables on the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders on the issue, the Congress leaders, in a joint statement, said Akalis should be ashamed of themselves for "reducing the legislative business to a mere ritual".
The signatories to the statement were Congress MLAs OP Soni, Dr Raj Kumar Verka and Sukh Sarkaria, former legislators Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Jasbir Singh Dimpa; rural and urban district presidents Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Rajeev Bhagat respectively.
The Congress leaders asked Majithia and Ranike not to forget the period between 2002 and 2007 when Capt Amarinder Singh had "made them run for cover" during the debates in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
"While referring to the seven-year period between 2007 and 2014, the Akali leaders have very conveniently tried to avoid any mention to the period between 2002 and 2007 when they fumbled for answers in the Vidhan Sabha", the Congress leaders said.
They also reminded the Akalis as to how in the period between 2007 and 2012, the latter tried to keep Amarinder out of the House by expelling him as an MLA. However, they pointed out, his expulsion was later revoked by the Supreme Court with severe strictures against the SAD-BJP government.
"That speaks volumes about how scared they are of Capt Amarinder Singh and have tried all the foul means to keep him out", they added.
The Congress leaders said the Akalis should be ashamed of the fact that they keep on running away from every debate in the Vidhan Sabha. "It is surprising that they were not ashamed of the fact that the Punjab Vidhan Sabha held just 88 sittings in seven years, which is unheard of in any state across India, as any Vidhan Sabha conducts business for about 100 days in a year," they pointed out.
They alleged that during these limited sittings, Akalis rushed through their agenda without any debates or discussions "making a mockery of the legislature and the legislative business.