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AAP’s Sukhpal Khaira under fire, political heat set to make Punjab assembly’s winter session stormy

New foes and allies: AAP hopes to blunt Akali ammo against leader of oppn with silent support from ruling Congress

punjab Updated: Nov 27, 2017 10:14 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Sukhpal Khaira,Punjab assembly,winter session
Punjab’s leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira(HT File )

The drug issue is likely to again raise political temperatures during the winter session of the Punjab assembly that begins on Monday. The focus this time will be on leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who is under fire over court summons against him in a drug case.

  • The Punjab Entertainment and Amusement Taxes (Levy and Collection by Local Bodies) Bill, 2017, to cut the tax on direct to home (DTH) TV satellite services to ₹5 per connection per month and impose same tax on cable connections
  • Punjab Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Property (PFIAP) Act, 2017, to confiscate property of drug dealers
  • Punjab Excise Act, 1914 (Amendment) Bill, 2017, allowing the sale of liquor through licensed vends within the limits of municipal areas and checking smuggling of distilled spirits
  • Amendments to the Punjab Rural Development Act, 1987, for increasing the rural development fee rate from 2% to 3%, and the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961, to provide relief to the debt stressed farmers through the rural development fund

The ruling Congress, which had faced the onslaught of a united opposition in the budget session held in June, has little to worry in the three-day session. The bonhomie between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is long over and two are likely to spar over Khaira.

The AAP hopes to blunt the Akali ammunition with silent support from the Congress, which sees more gain in letting rivals clash than lend its weight to the Akalis with whom it has to contend with in Majha and Doaba where the AAP is no threat.

To Khaira’s relief, the Majha politics would be at play again in the assembly as former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia remains the main target of local bodies minister Navjot Sidhu and Majha strongmen of the Congress such as Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. Khaira’s sworn enemies, SAD leader Jagir Kaur and power minister Rana Gurjit Singh, are from his home turf Doaba. However, one is not a MLA and the other has little support within party and is bound by the party strategy.

The AAP is all set to deflect the attack on Khaira as its ally Lok Insaaf Party has declared another expose on Monday. The Akalis, too, are preparing a dossier against the AAP leader in the drug case. That done, there may be no time to question the government on its policies, performance and poll promises

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 09:36 IST