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SAD boycotts debate on Ranjit panel report, holds mock session

Raising slogans, the Akali MLAs created ruckus and did not relent even after the speaker assured them that sufficient time will be given to everyone to participate in the discussion.

punjab Updated: Aug 29, 2018 09:32 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Ranjit Singh Commission report,Akalis,Shiromani Akali Dal
Shiromani Akali Dal MLAs during a mock assembly session in the lobby of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on the last day of the monsoon session on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday boycotted the debate on the Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission report on sacrilege on the last day of the monsoon session of the assembly, saying the 14-minute slot allotted to their MLAs to speak on the issue was too less.

When speaker Rana KP Singh allotted time to them, SAD legislators raised slogans and stormed the well of the House. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who led the party MLAs raising slogans against the speaker, said 14 minutes were inadequate for the purpose as the panel report has mainly focused on the previous government.

The speaker said the time was allotted according to the Akali Dal’s strength (number of MLAs) in the House and he was ready to increase their time but he will have to do it proportionately for others also.

In the two-hour slot for the debate, the speaker citing the rulebook gave 1 hour 20 minutes to the Congress, 21 minutes to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), 14 minutes to SAD, 3 minutes to BJP and 2 minutes to the Lok Insaaf Party (LIP)

Raising slogans, the Akali MLAs created ruckus and did not relent even after the speaker assured them that sufficient time will be given to everyone to participate in the discussion. But the protesting MLAs flung photocopies of the report in the air and walked out.

Drama outside House

The SAD legislators held a mock session outside the assembly to debate the commission report making Batala MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal the speaker of the House. During the mock session, they rejected the report findings as ‘bogus’ report.

“The report has been prepared by Capt Amarinder Singh’s ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Tript Rajinder Bajwa along with Justice Ranjit Singh and his brother-in-law and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Khaira. The ISI-backed pro-Khalistan leaders sitting on dharna at Bargari have colluded with the government to fix Akali leaders through this report,” said former minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who spoke on the report for more than two hours.

He also questioned the credibility of Justice Ranjit Singh citing various instances.

BJP MLA Som Parkash alleged that by paying heed to the demands of the radicals sitting on dharna at Bargari, Amarinder is playing with fire and is promoting the idea of Khalistan.

The House later passed resolution condemning the mock session. The resolution was moved by parliamentary affairs and health minister Brahm Mohindra who said this was in violation of the proceedings of the assembly and was undemocratic and unjustified.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 15:44 IST