From an assembly awash with the Akali blue for 10 long years, the 15th Vidhan Sabha on Friday sprang up with all festive hues as the ‘Congress 77’ settled themselves on the treasury benches. Many dressed in spotless white kurta-pyjama, the joy was marked by warm hugs, handshakes, and the unmistakable festive colours of the ‘pagris’ sported by the Sikh members.
Congress MLAs have long given up the tradition of wearing white ‘pagris’ and on Friday they had chosen more “sacred” colours for their headgear. Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh wore a beige ‘pagri’, a shift from his favourite light pink or light blue. There were others who completed the palette — Sukhjinder Randhawa chose light peach, Rana Gurmeet Sodhi chose bright pink, Pargat Singh donned dark purple and Balbir Sidhu chose magenta. Charanjit Channi sported a red ‘pagri’ and some even wore orange.
Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu dressed to the tee in a suit, wore a rust shirt with a matching ‘pagri’. Manpreet Badal wore his blue blazer today (he is mostly seen in either a white one or a school uniform blue) over his shirt-pant combination sporting a white ‘pagri’. The most colourful of Congressmen, Rana Gurjeet Singh, was dressed as expected, white kurta-pyjama, yellow jacket and purple ‘pagri’.
Most of the youngsters had chosen to don kurta-pyjama, giving the true politician look but some wanted to look more fashionable. Amrinder Singh Raja Warring looked strapping in a blue blazer-shirt-pant combination, and newbie AAP MLA from Barnala Meet Hayer following suit.
Most of the Sikh Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs chose to wear ‘Basanti’ (bright yellow) turbans, the party’s campaign colour, symbolic of revolution, with Sunam MLA Aman Arora having found a jacket of the same colour. Leader of opposition, HS Phoolka, stuck to his usual blue. Most of the Akali MLAs too stuck to blue or black (two of three colours emblematic of Sikhism), only Parminder Dhindsa wearing his favourite light yellow.
Acutely missing from the new assembly was the glam quotient visible in the last House, thanks to its women members. Ministers Aruna Chaudhry and Razia Sultana wore subtle shades of white and beige, not wanting to stand out, lending a graceful tinge to the treasury benches. All the six women members kept their heads covered with ‘dupattas’.
Unusual bonhomie and humility marks the day
Lok Insaaf Party’s Simarjeet Singh Bains, allied with the AAP, shared a warm hug with Navjot Sidhu, reliving the bonhomie of the Awaaz-e-Punjab days before the group split to support different parties. Bikram Singh Majithia, the Congress’ and AAP’s bugbear, shook hands with Captain Amarinder Singh and leader of opposition HS Phoolka after taking oath. While many bent to touch the floor of the House on their way to taking oath, Congress national youth president Warring removed his shoes before taking the oath.