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Punjab assembly’s winter session begins with senior Badal’s debut, an ‘expose’

There were cold vibes in the air as Badal and chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh exchanged glances but no greetings.

punjab Updated: Nov 27, 2017 21:24 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Amarinder Singh,Parkash Singh Badal,Sukhpal Khaira
The winter session of the Punjab assembly got underway on Monday.(HT Photo)

Punjab’s youngest assembly saw the debut of its oldest member, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, in the opposition benches as the winter session got underway on Monday.

There were cold vibes in the air as Badal and chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh exchanged glances but no greetings. But new warmth was visible between Badal and Bikram Singh Majithia, his former revenue minister, as the latter was seen escorting him out of the House after the sitting ended.

There was some bonhomie between Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too. Parliamentary affairs minister Brahm Mohindra walked to AAP benches to greet a few and the CM and local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu too returned greetings of AAP MLAs.

The bonhomie between the AAP and Akali-BJP MLAs seen during the last session was missing. Former leader of opposition HS Phoolka was absent and the incumbent, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, is going to be the main target of the Akalis in the winter session owing to court summons to him in a drug case. But Khaira did not hesitate to shake hands with them as they left the House.

With the drug case against Khaira having set the tone of the three-day winter session, the main action was outside the assembly. AAP ally Lok Insaaf Party’s Simarjit Singh Bains, Khaira’s staunchest supporter, released an audio clip claiming the court summons were a case of “judicial bribery”.

Breaking with precedent, the CM did not convene a meeting of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) owing to dissenting voices within. But state chief Sunil Jakhar underlined the party’s dilemma on Khaira while addressing a press conference before the session began. “If we take on Khaira, why not Majithia (who was summoned by the enforcement directorate in a drug case),” he said.

Sidhu, who was also present with Jakhar, promptly seconded him with both his hands up. And then it was over to Sidhuisms and his well-rehearsed punchlines on Majithia.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 21:23 IST