State finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu today attacked the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for repeatedly creating ruckus in the State Assembly and not allowing the House to function smoothly. The Akalis said they protested after rejection of their adjournment motion on debate on the farmer debt issue. Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly, Badal hit out at the SAD, alleged that they looted Punjab for past ten years. Terming the SAD a “rudderless ship”, Sidhu said, “Sardar Badal (former CM) and junior Badal (Sukhbir Badal) marked their attendance in the Speaker’s room and left from there.” “They cannot face the House themselves and are putting their cronies in the front to speak on their behalf,” Sidhu told reporters. Charanjit Singh Channi also slammed the Akalis for disrupting the House proceedings. Senior SAD leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, however, told reporters that “the Congress promised loan waiver for farmers. We are demanding discussion on the issue now. Are we doing anything wrong? Till the time they do not discuss the issue, we cannot sit quiet. It is the Congress which is backing out from its promise made to the farmers”. Earlier in the House, Congress leader Ajaib Singh Bhatti was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the state assembly.
Amid ruckus by SAD MLAs on the farm debt issue, Health Minister Brahm Mohindra escorted Bhatti to the Deputy Speaker’s seat. SAD MLAs continued to raise slogans for the second day today demanding debt waiver relief for farmers. The Akalis continued their protest in the Well of the House, which also witness heated arguments between the SAD MLAs and the ruling Congress legislators. The Speaker then adjourned the House for half an hour. The Akalis also protested some remarks made by Sidhu, who is also Tourism Minister, against SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal over the Harike water bus project which was started during the previous SAD-BJP regime.
AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira allegedly filmed the argument between Congress and SAD MLAs after which the Speaker ordered the House marshals to take away his mobile. Health Minister Brahm Mohindra moved a privilege motion against Khaira for filming the proceedings of the House after which there were heated arguments between the Congress and the AAP MLAs and the House had to be adjourned for 10 minutes.