Aam Aadmi Party MLAs riding cycles as they head to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Monday to protest the fuel price hike. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Aam Aadmi Party MLAs riding cycles as they head to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Monday to protest the fuel price hike. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Punjab budget session begins on note of protest

SAD MLAs tear copies of governor’s address against the ruling Congress’s failure to keep its 2017 poll promises, while AAP members headed to the Vidhan Sabha on cycles to protest fuel price hike
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 12:15 PM IST

The eight-day budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha began on a note of protest on Monday morning with copies of governor VP Singh Badnore’s address being torn by opposition Shiromani Akali Dal members.

During the first assembly session of an election year, the SAD upped its ante against the ruling Congress and took on the Capt Amarinder Singh government for its alleged “failure to fulfil promises made in the run-up to the 2017 polls”.

While the SAD planned to gherao the assembly, members of the main opposition party, the Aam Aadmi Party, arrived for the session on bicycles to protest the rising prices of fuel.

The budget estimates for the 2021-22 financial year will be presented on March 5.

The opposition parties have demanded an extension of the session that will conclude on March 10 as “the problems faced by the state and its people can’t be discussed in detail in eight sittings”.

The AAP plans to corner the government on the issues of minimum support price (MSP) for crops, alleged post-matric scholarship scam, farm loan waiver and rising power prices.

“It has been 4 years and none of the promises made during the last polls have been fulfilled. The government has failed on all counts and the CM must explain it,” said leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema.

On its part, the Congress is also planning to gherao Raj Bhawan against the fuel price rise, holding the BJP-led government at the Centre responsible for it.

Keeping the 2022 assembly polls in mind, both the key opposition parties do not want to miss the opportunity to highlight the Congress government’s “failures on various fronts” during the four-year rule as it is its last budget.

On the other hand, the cash-strapped government is expected to make a last-ditch effort to woo the electorate through populist measures.

Also, the session, which is being held under the shadows of the ongoing farmers’ protest at the Delhi borders, coincides with completion of four years of the Congress in power. Since the protests have a tacit support of the Amarinder Singh-led government, the AAP and SAD plan to regain their lost ground.

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