Atwal rejects Cong demand, calls for limiting obit references

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 10, 2016 11:29 IST
Assembly speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal (third from right) with deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, Congress MLA Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and BJP MLAs Manoranjan Kalia, Madan Mohan Mittal and Chunni Lal Bhagat after the House was adjourned for the day, in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

On the second day of the Punjab assembly budget session, speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal rejected the Congress’ demand to include more names in obituary references.

The rejection came with an advice that only names of people’s representative (MLAs, MPs, ministers) and freedom fighters who died between the previous session and the current one be included. After the speaker read out 28 obituary references, leader of opposition Chanranjit Singh Channi demanded inclusion of more names.

The House was adjourned for the day after paying tributes to those who died in the period between the last sitting and the ongoing session.

Later, talking to the media, Channi said he had written to the speaker to include names of around 13,000 farmers who had committed suicide due to debt in the obituary references and also names of people killed in road accidents involving buses. Besides, Channi sought inclusion of names of two people killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan last year.

However, the Speaker agreed to Akali MLA Pawan Tinu’s demanded of obituary reference for chancellor of Sant Baba Bhag Singh University, Jalandhar, Baba Malkiat Singh.

“I would like to convey the House to adopt the practise to only have people’s representatives and freedom fighters in obituary references. Let us not lengthen the list and maintain the grace,” said Atwal. Interestingly, the list of obituaries read out by Atwal included names industrialists, writers, security personnel, high court judges and retired army officers along with politicians and freedom fighters.

The speaker read out names of former Lok Sabha speakers Balram Jakhar and PA Sangma, former governors of Punjab Gen OP Malhotra and Lt Gen JFR Jacob, former speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Harnam Das Johar, former state minister Ranjit Singh Balian, former MP Tarlochan Singh Toor and former MLAs Gurnam Singh Dhirowali and Manmohan Singh Brar.

The list also included names of Savinder Kaur Kahlon, wife of former Vidhan Sabha speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, justice NK Sanghi of the Punjab and Haryana high court, defence personnel killed while fighting militants at the Pathankot airbase and 10 army men, including lance naik Hanumanthappa who died following an avalanche in Saichen.

The obituary list included nine freedom fighters, writer Mahip Singh, industrialists Brij Mohan Munjal and Brij Bedi, former director general of the Border Security Force Ashwani Kumar and brigadier Sant Singh (retd).

Faux pas

The Vidhan Sabha office was found lacking in preparing the details of obituary references. The list of the obituary references was sketchy and many names were missing. The list stated that army men lance naik Hanumanthappa and nine others, who were killed in Saichen avalanche, were from the Border Security Force.

Congress walks out of advisory panel meeting

The Congress walked out in protest from the business advisory committee meeting in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday. Leader of opposition Channi said the Congress had been given a dissenting note in the business advisory committee.

“We had urged the speaker to extend the session by two days or increase the sittings so important issues could be debated, but he rejected our demand. We had listed 13 core issues which needed to be discussed in the House and demanded that a Congress representative should be present when the ballot was done for questions,” said Channi.“We have already given an adjournment motion on the SYL issue, but now the government is bringing a resolution on it, which is unethical. The speaker should clarify about our adjournment motion which we submitted two days back,” he said.

Later, talking to the media, Channi said the speaker had not accepted Congress’ resolutions to be brought for discussion on a non-official business day. The Congress has sought to bring resolutions on farmer suicides and inability of the government to protect scheduled castes and backward classes in the state, he added. Thursday is fixed for non-official business when chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is expected to speak on the SYL canal issue. “In the past nine years, not even a single resolution proposed by the Congress has been taken up in the House,” said Channi.

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