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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Congress MLAs face litmus test in Punjab assembly

PTI  Chandigarh, October 27, 2013
First Published: 13:27 IST(27/10/2013) | Last Updated: 13:41 IST(27/10/2013)

It will be a litmus test for disintegrated Congress MLAs as they try to project unanimity against roaring ruling Akalis and BJP in the Punjab assembly beginning here tomorrow.

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Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD has posed a united front against Opposition Congress, whose floor strategy at times on previous occasions had gone haywire due to lack of cohesion among the party MLAs.

It will also be a point to observe four BJP Ministers present in the House after their portfolios were changed by Badal due to "under performance" and took up the matter with Saffron party head Rajnath Singh.

The faction ridden Congress in the state has already been directed by the party high command to work in tandem.

It will be a keenly watched affair how the likes of Amarinder Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, CLP leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar, Charanjit Singh Channi, Brahm Mohindra, Jagmohan Singh Kang and Ashwani Sekhri take on treasury benches.

The session is likely to end on November 1 even as CLP leader Jakhar had sought extension of the House meetings.

On the issue of short session, Jakhar said the ruling coaliton wants to run away from discussions on various issues.

"There were a host of issues that needed to be discussed threadbare and if the government was confident of having done good work, it should not shy away from an open discussion," he said.

Among the issues the Congress would to take up during the session are: imposition of house tax, regularisation of illegal colonies, shortage of sand and gravel, VAT refund, advance tax, lifting of paddy in mandis, fiscal health, new industrial policy and drug abuse among youth.

The treasury benches, whose meeting had been convened tomorrow ahead of session, are all set to thrash the Opposition's allegations by highlighting the achievements of the government.

The treasury benches will be taking pride in Sukhbir's recent visit to Mumbai and Bangalore from where he got promises of huge investments and plan to hold first of its type Progressive Investment Promotion Summit in Mohali, a party spokesman said.

The rationalisation of VAT, regularisation of illegal colonies and several other major policy decisions taken by the government in the recent past will also be used to counter the opposition onslaught.

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