Punjab Budget session: AAP, SAD compete to corner Capt govt
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) vied with each other in the state assembly on Wednesday to corner the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.
The two parties, which are jockeying to dominate the opposition space ahead of next year’s assembly polls, went after the state government from the word go, targeting it over the delay in post-matric scholarships for SC students, irregularities in Mohali land auction, and, last but not least, Uttar Pradesh gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s custody.
The SAD and AAP legislators then staged walkouts from the House in quick succession over the delay in the implementation of pay commission and release of dearness allowance instalments, and scrapping of power purchase agreements (PPAS) with private power plants, respectively.
As soon as the question hour got over, leader of opposition (LOP) Harpal Singh Cheema, SAD legislator Bikram Singh Majithia and several other MLAs of the two opposition parties were up on their feet to draw speaker Rana KP Singh’s attention for time to speak during the zero hour.
The speaker allowed Cheema first, and he began by blaming the Congress government for the suffering of lakhs of students due to the failure of the state government to release funds under the scholarship scheme. Citing a reply he received from the Union government under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the LOP accused the government of diverting the scheme funds and not submitting the utilisation certificates to the central ministry.
Majithia, who was the next to speak, tore into the Congress government over custody of Ansari, who is facing trial in UP in several criminal cases. Accusing the Punjab government of shamelessly shielding the gangster-turned-politician, the Akali leader demanded a CBI inquiry. He said when the state government did not have the money to implement the pay commission and release dearness and other allowances of its employees, it was wasting money. However, his remarks on efforts being made by the state government in the court in this matter were expunged by the speaker.
A Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from Mau, Ansari, is wanted in UP for trial in 14 cases on charges of murder, extortion, etc. He is lodged since January 2019 in a jail in Punjab where he was named in an extortion case by a builder.
Then, the SAD members asked for a discussion on the 6th State Pay Commission and the state government’s reluctance to give Punjab scales to its employees, but were not given time. The members responded by entering the well of the House, raising slogans against the state government. They continued raising slogans for six minutes before staging the walkout. Within minutes, slogan-shouting legislators of the AAP were also in the well of the House to protest against the high power rates in Punjab, repeated tariff hikes and the delay in scraping of power purchase agreements with private power plants. The party MLAs had also marched from the MLA Hostel to the state assembly in the morning to register their protest.
Rain in Karnataka continued in several areas, filling up reservoirs and dams, with more to come, according to forecasts. The Karnataka natural disaster monitoring centre has predicted widespread moderate to heavy rainfall in several parts of the southern state, with isolated very heavy rains likely over coastal districts and widespread very light to moderate rains likely in the Malnad area. Karnataka has seen heavy rainfall over the past weeks.
The Indian Meteorological Department has issued orange alert for Mumbai and Thane, with intense to very intense rain predicted at isolated places in the region till 10am. As per IMD, intense to very intense rain with gusty winds reaching 40-50 kmph very likely at isolated places in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Palghar till 10 am today, reported ANI.
Some students who passed the Pre-University Course in 2020-21 but are also writing the Common Entrance Test in 2022, have approached the High Court. These students have challenged an alleged note of the Karnataka Examination Authority not considering the 2020-21 marks for entrance to professional courses in 2022. A single-judge bench of SR Krishna Kumar heard the petition on Monday. The petition was filed by Keerthana Y H and a dozen other students.
With the Centre's Har Ghar Tiranga campaign pacing up across the country, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai reviewed the preparations across the state and said that the southern state aims to hoist 1 crore flags in Karnataka. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai directed officials to make the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign organized to mark the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav a success. The distribution of flags is already underway. Ministers Govind Karjol, V. Sommanna, C. C. Patil.
Amid murmurs within the Karnataka BJP circles about the possibility of an overhaul in the party and the government ahead of the 2023 Assembly polls, former MLA B Suresh Gowda on Monday indicating about some changes said the high command will take a call on replacing the Chief Minister and other matters.