INLD MLAs try to storm Punjab House, Cong MLAs pay back in same coin

  • Chitleen K Sethi and Rajesh Moudgil, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2016 09:47 IST
Haryana INLD members tried to storm the Punjab Vidhan Sabha protesting over SYL canal land de-notification move in Chandigarh on Thursday. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

In an unprecedented series of events, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLAs from Haryana tried to storm the Punjab assembly on Thursday over the SYL Canal issue, while demanding dismissal of the SAD-BJP government.

When the INLD legislators led by leader of Opposition Abhay Chautala were being assuaged by the Punjab assembly staff, Punjab Congress MLAs walked out of the House and marched towards the Haryana assembly, raising slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre. 

Budget sessions of both states are currently on in the Capitol Complex, where the two Vidhan Sabhas are housed within 25 metres of each other. Legislators of both Houses can move freely in the common areas inside the complex.

Later, Punjab assembly passed a resolution condemning the behaviour of the Haryana INLD MLAs and the Haryana assembly did the same deploring Punjab Congress MLAs’ act. Speakers of both Houses were urged by the opposite side to take action against the elected members for what they did.  

The incident took place soon after Punjab House reassembled after the half-an-hour zero hour adjournment. Abhay called his party’s MLAs to his office and together they barged into the legislators’ lounge of the Punjab assembly, raising slogans against the SAD-BJP government. They moved towards the main entry to the Punjab assembly hall (which opens into the lounge) where they were stopped by marshals and other security staff.

Punjab speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, hearing the sloganeering outside the assembly hall door, immediately adjourned the session. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh were not present in the House when this happened. 

Punjab Congress members protesting outside the Haryana Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Thursday. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

The sloganeering continued for over 15 minutes after which INLD MLAs were called for a meeting with Atwal where they expressed their resentment against the bill passed by the Punjab assembly to denotify the SYL Canal land. “This act by Punjab was nothing short of murder of its younger brother (Haryana),” Abhay said, while terming it a “black bill’’.

Next was the turn of Punjab Congress MLAs, who started marching towards the Haryana assembly, raising slogans against the BJP government. They were stopped at one of the entry gates to the Vidhan Sabha, where they raised slogans for a few minutes.

The Punjab assembly later passed a resolution condemning the INLD move, while asking the Haryana speaker to take action against the members and ask them to behave. “This has never happened in the assembly and is highly condemnable,” stated the resolution moved by parliamentary affairs minister Madan Mohan Mittal.

The resolution was passed amid sloganeering by Congress MLAs who alleged that the Akalis Dal and INLD were “brothers-in-arms” and playing a friendly match to gain political mileage over the SYL Canal issue.

Punjab speaker, who had been viciously attacked by the leader of the Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi during the zero hour, was visibly shaken by the turn of events. “Haryana MLAs had set a wrong precedent. They asked me for time and I met them. They were demanding Haryana’s share of water. The MLAs have all the right to project their grievances within the House they belong to. This is no way,” he said.

Subsequently, Haryana assembly also passed a resolution unanimously, condemning the act of Punjab Congress MLAs. The resolution was moved by Haryana parliamentary affairs minister Ram Bilas Sharma. It was also decided in the resolution that Punjab speaker be asked to take action and get an FIR registered against the Congress members for spoiling the dignity of the House.

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