On the opening day of the first session of the 15th Vidhan Sabha, leader of opposition and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Dakha HS Phoolka said his party and the coalition partner Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) should be given a separate office in the assembly.
“What we have got now is not as per our strength,” he said while entering the Vidhan Sabha before taking oath as an MLA. Chief whip Sukhpal Singh Khaira suggested that the AAP be allotted the office currently in possession of the Congress which was allotted to it in the previous term when it was in the opposition.
“The AAP-LIP alliance has won 22 seats in the assembly elections and we have four MLAs more than Akali-BJP (18) alliance,” said Khaira, adding the matter was brought to the notice of pro tem speaker who assured to do the needful.
Khaira said according the current plan, LIP MLAs Simarjeet Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains have been allotted seats across to that allotted to Akali MLAs. They should be given seats in front ahead of the Akali and BJP legislators. “In case our demands are not met, we will be forced to stage a protest,” he said.
AAP legislators also announced that they would not surrender their privileges. “The Constitution gives MLAs privileges and perks to serve the people which could not be refused, we would take what we are entitled to,” said AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu, adding his party supports austerity.
Phoolka said his party would continuously watch the functioning of the Congress. “We would keep a track of the promises made and the timeframe given by the Congress in their elections manifesto, particularly on the issues of checking drugs menace,” said Phoolka.
In the business advisory committee meeting of the Vidhan Sabha, Phoolka objected to shifting of debate on the governor address to the next session to be held in May. The pro tem speaker said it was the precedence and he wanted to give three days for debate on the governor address which was not possible in the current session.