Punjab assembly meets to mark 400th Prakash Purb of Guru Teg Bahadur
The Punjab assembly on Friday held a special one-day session to commemorate the 400th Prakash Purb (birth anniversary) of Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru.
Addressing the House, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh called for sarbat da bhala (welfare of humanity) and lauded the Sikh community’s effort to reach out in crisis. “Whenever there is a crisis, Sikhs come forward to help. Our gurus were willing to lay down their lives for humanity. Serving humanity should be the prime objective in spite of diverse political thoughts,” he said.
Governor Banwari Lal Purohit, who visited the assembly for the first time after taking charge, said the teachings and sacrifices of all Sikh gurus were a lesson for humanity. “The saga of Guru Teg Bahadur ji offers the symbolism of the highest sacrifice and the finest expression of spiritual faith,” Purohit said.
Former chief justice of India JS Khehar spoke on the contribution and philosophy of Guru Teg Bahadur.
Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh read out the greetings sent by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and vice-president Venkaiah Naidu. In his message to the House, the Dalai Lama said that the life, writings and principles of the Guru will always be source of inspiration.
The session began with obituary references to 21 personalities who passed away after the last meeting of the House.
State sports minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi later demanded an obituary reference for legendary athlete Milkha Singh’s wife Nirmal Milkha Singh, also a national-level sportsperson and a former director of sports, Chandigarh administration, besides former cricketer Yash Pal Sharma, who passed away recently.
Sarabjit Kaur, the deputy leader of the AAP legislature party, demanded an obituary reference for farmers who died protesting the three farm laws on the borders of Delhi and farm labourers who committed suicide in the recent past.
After the speeches, the House was adjourned sine die.
ENGLISH, THE FLAVOUR OF THE DAY
Most speeches were delivered in English, barring Speaker Rana KP Singh and the leader of opposition, Harpal Singh Cheema. Former chief justice of India, JS Khehar, spoke in a mix of English and Punjabi. Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and governor Banwarilal Purohit also spoke in English.
BACK-BENCHERS BY CHOICE
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Navjot Singh Sidhu and some ministers, who have opened a banner of revolt against the CM, chose to be seated on the back rows. This was even as the MLAs were free to choose their seats, not the standard protocol, due to the special session.
THE UNEXPECTED HANDSHAKE
Before the start of the session, the CM moved around the well of the House, shaking hands with the MLAs sitting on the first row. Rural development minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa, who is leading a group of MLAs and ministers against Amarinder and has even demanded his removal, stood up to shake hands with him.
KHAIRA’S BENCH HOPPING
Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who has recently joined the Congress, was seen sitting on both treasury and the opposition benches. Before the start of the celebration session, Khaira was seen sitting with the Congress MLAs just behind the CM. As proceedings began, he went to the opposition benches. Other MLAs, who joined the Congress around the same time as Khaira, remained seated on the opposition side.