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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

'Cong arrogance spoiled Punjab assembly session'

Jasdeep Singh Malhotra, Hindustan Times   Jalandhar, December 23, 2012
First Published: 23:43 IST(23/12/2012) | Last Updated: 10:33 IST(24/12/2012)

Squarely blaming the opposition Congress for allegedly showing "arrogance" to cause washout of the assembly session, speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal said the ruling party not only made sincere efforts to sort out the issues but kept on waiting for a positive signal from the opposition till the end.

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Atwal, who was here to attend a sports function on Sunday, said the opposition leaders "deliberately" chose the already sealed way to reach the speaker's chamber even as the other entrance to his chamber was open.

"The allegation that the guards had not allowed the opposition MLAs' entry into my chamber is false. They (opposition) could have contacted me over the phone or through any other channels about such a problem than resorting to protest. Though Congress MLA Tarlochan Singh met me after some time to inform me that the Congress delegation would reach the speaker's chamber within 10 minutes to discuss their grievances, it never happened," he said, adding that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and parliamentary affairs minister Madan Mohan Mittal kept on waiting for the opposition MLAs till the end.

On the allegations of siding with the ruling combine by suspending Congress MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh and sparing minister Bikram Singh Majithia, Atwal wondered what else he could have done in such a situation? "The ruling party moved a motion to suspend Rana Gurjeet Singh from the rest of the session of the assembly. As speaker, it was my duty to check how many members were in favour or against the resolution. I did my duty as per the provisions and Rana Gurjit Singh was suspended by adopting the resolution," he said.

Atwal clarified that he had not seen or heard Rana Gurjit Singh or Majithia hurl abuses at each other. "I was busy in sorting out certain papers when the incident happened. I am yet to check the video evidence," he said.

On Congress' move to show the video footage at the district-level meetings despite the speaker's orders to expunge the objectionable remarks from the proceedings, Atwal said he would consider the issue at an appropriate time. "The expunged proceedings cannot be broadcast in any manner. I will soon review the video tapes," he said.

Atwal said it was for the first time in his political life that slogans were raised against him. "The Congress arrogance had led to deterioration of situation post the Rana Gurjeet-Majithia incident. Though I invited the opposition on many occasions to come to my chamber for discussions, they failed to respond. The issue can be resolved through dialogue only," he said.

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