Special session: Speaker asks ‘koi hai’, but no one rises to debate bills | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Special session: Speaker asks ‘koi hai’, but no one rises to debate bills

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP legislators’ disinterest in legislative business and disregard for decorum marked the proceedings of the “special session” of Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Monday that was billed as “historic”.

punjab Updated: Dec 20, 2016 13:18 IST
Pawan Sharma
The House proceedings in process in absence of opposition members during the special session at Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Monday.
The House proceedings in process in absence of opposition members during the special session at Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Monday. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP legislators’ disinterest in legislative business and disregard for decorum marked the proceedings of the “special session” of Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Monday that was billed as “historic”.

The entire business of the single-sitting session was wrapped up in 46 minutes. But the House was adjourned for 53 minutes after it assembled and finished “obituary references” in seven minutes to pay tributes to prominent personalities who had died in the recent past.

As the members questioned the rationale behind this long adjournment, speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal bluntly said, ‘Kagzi karvai.” He was referring to papers related to various Bills that were being readied.

The signs of the non-seriousness of the ruling party members were visible right from the moment the House re-assembled as a section of the MLAs engrossed in a discussion did not even stand up when the speaker arrived at 3pm.

BADAL MISSING FROM ‘HISTORIC’ SESSION

Notably, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal did not attend the “historic” session that was convened after Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore refused to sign the controversial ordinance to regularise 30,000 employees hired via ‘back door.’

The 52 SAD MLAs present in the House of 117 passed nine populist Bills unanimously without any debate within just 39 minutes.

HISTORIC, INDEED!

“This is a historic Bill and a historic day as the government has helped those employees who were facing an uncertain future,” parliamentary affairs minister Madan Mohan Mittal, who moved the related legislation, said outside the House.

Historic, indeed, the session was for some other reasons.

It was within a month that the government held a special session of the assembly. It had held a day-long session on November 16 after the Supreme Court had ordered status quo on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal.

In Monday’s session, nine Bills were passed in the absence of 43 Congress legislators, Independents and seven SAD MLAs who have resigned after denial of party ticket.

DECORUM DISREGARDED

The session— hopefully the last under this government — was also historic for the manner in which the SAD members disregarded the decorum of the House.

Most of the lawmakers were seen talking and going into huddles on different benches when the Bills were being pushed at a breakneck speed. Some MLAs were even hooked on to their cell phones.

SUKHBIR AMONG CHATTING MLAs

This pack of ‘busy in chit-chat’ legislators was led by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was busy chatting with finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa on the front bench during the major part of the proceedings.

After Dhindsa left Sukhbir’s company, other MLAs such as justice Nirmal Singh (retd) and minister Anil Joshi joined the deputy CM. Sitting behind Sukhbir were minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and MLA NK Sharma who were also discussing things other than Bills being introduced and passed in a rapid fire style.

Earlier, ministers Joshi, Sharanjit Dhillon and Surjit Singh Rakhra were seen discussing some ‘more important’ issue while a woman MLA was busy with her swanky cell phone.

Amid all this, when Joshi moved a bill, he took a dig on chatting MLAs, asking if they wanted to know what its salient features were. The Bills were being distributed only when various ministers were moving motions to pass these.

Every time a Bill was moved, the speaker was heard exclaiming “Koi hai?” in order to ask if any member was interested in debating over the legislation. However, no one stood up as they had other important things to debate on among themselves.