Water sharing: Protesting Congress MLAs walk out of Punjab assembly

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2016 09:27 IST
Congress MLA’s protesting outside the Punjab Vidhan Sabha during the budget session in Chandigarh on Tuesday. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

The opposition Congress MLAs staged a walkout in the Vidhan Sabha during the governor’s address on the opening day of the budget session on Tuesday.

Earlier, Congress legislators were prevented from entering the Vidhan Sabha as they insisted on carrying black flags inside. The Congress demanded the resignation of the SAD-BJP government for “having failed to protect the water rights” of the state.

The Congress MLAs, who were wearing black bands, staged the walkout raising slogans against the government for its “inability to speak against the Centre’s move of filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court favouring early completion of the SYL canal to give more water to Haryana”.

The filing of the affidavit is being seen as the Centre’s stand against Punjab’s Termination of Water Agreements Act of 2005. Congress MLAs said, “We are protesting as the SAD-BJP gover nment in Punjab has failed to raise its voice against the move.”

Earlier, at 9 am, over a dozen Congress MLAs, led by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Charanjeet Singh Channi, wearing black bands and carrying black flags, began a march from the high court chownk, roughly half a kilometer from the Vidhan Sabha. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

At 9 am, around a dozen Congress MLAs, led by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Charanjit Singh Channi--who were wearing black bands and carrying black flags besides raising slogans against the state government--started a march from the high court chowk, about half a kilometre from the Vidhan Sabha. They were stopped outside the assembly gate. MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring climbed over the gate to open it for the other MLAs.

Later, the Congress legislators blocked the entry point to the Vidhan Sabha and prevented the ruling party MLAs from entering the house, who were later pacified by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. The delay in the entry of MLAs delayed the governor’s address by five minutes.

As governor Kaptan Singh Solanki began his address, the opposition MLAs started raising slogans against the government before staging the walkout.

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal pacified them and urged them to allow other MLAs to enter. Eventually, there was a five minute delay in the governor’s address. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

Channi later told HT, “In a well thought-out plan, the Centre has given an affidavit in the Supreme Court declaring its unacceptability to the Termination of Water Agreement Act of 2005 passed by the Cong ress.” Channi demanded the resignation of deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, who holds the home portfolio. Channi also demanded the registration of a case against the policemen who “pushed the woman MLAs of his party” to stop them from entering the Vidhan Sabha. He said the SAD hadn’t said anything against the affidavit, which meant they were a party to it.

Further course of action

Channi said the CLP would meet on Thursday to chalk out his party’s further course of action. Senior party leaders, including Punjab party affairs incharge Shakeel Ahmed and secretary Harish Chaudhary, will attend the meeting. Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh is also expected to be present. “Our protest against the government inside and outside the Vidhan Sabha will continue,” Channi said.

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