Not in favour of issueless, loud remarks: Punjab assembly speaker Rana KP Singh
Rana Kanwar Pal Singh, 59, who took over a speaker of the Vidhan Sabha after the Congress government assumed power in Punjab, means business. And he has a a vision too. HT spoke to him on a range of issues. Excerpts:punjab Updated: Apr 11, 2017 08:31 IST
Rana Kanwar Pal Singh, 59, who took over a speaker of the Vidhan Sabha after the Congress government assumed power in Punjab, means business. And he has a a vision too. HT spoke to him on a range of issues. Excerpts:
There has been talk that the time for debate in the House has shrunk. What are your views?
I agree that the time for holding debate in the House has reduced considerably over the years. I want legislators to spend more time in the House and indulge in constructive debate. But the ball is in the members’ court. The number of days of session will be decided by the business advisory committee which has members from all the parties.
Do you agree that legislators need knowledge about how the House is conducted?
Legislators need to undergo an orientation programme. I have written to Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration to arrange a course and also to leaders of all parties to send legislators for it.
How will you run the Vidhan Sabha independent of the influence of your party which is in power?
I don’t consider it a challenge. I will give time to all legislators and parties, irrespective of their ideology, opinion and religious sentiments. As custodian of the House, I will make sure the rules and procedures are followed. Leader of the house (CM Capt Amarinder Singh) is a large-hearted person who believes in giving time to each and every member.
In the opening session, the opposition (Aam Aadmi Party) protested that you did not conduct a debate on the governor’s address.
The opening session came up with a vote-on-account on the expenses by the previous government in the past three months and also to approve expenses for next three months. We will hold full-fledged debate on the governor’s address in the forthcoming session (in May). But, for as long as the House sat for (in the first session), I gave time to everyone and members were satisfied.
How will you make sure that legislators maintain decorum in the house?
I am not in favour of issueless, loud remarks, and browbeating each other. I will indulge members in quality debate. Members must understand that our strength is logic and reasoning.
How do you plan to improve the administrative functioning of the House?
I am planning to bring in digitisation. There’s cost involved, which I will take up with the CM.
On issues of house beyond the House
64 MLA flats, 117 members: Other than the smooth conduct of the Vidhan Sabha, the speaker has another challenge to allot the MLA flats judiciously. There are 64 flats and 117 members. “I have given preference to all six female MLAs and those who have been elected the most number of times,” said the speaker. Seniors MLAs in terms of age and number of times they have been elected will get the ground floor, and so on.
The speaker himself is awaiting to shift in the bungalow in Sector 2 allotted to him. BJP leader and former minister Madan Mohan Mittal is still occupying it. “I have no problem even if I don’t get any (bungalow). I will check into a suite in the MLA hostel. These matters are of no great importance,” he told HT.