CHANDIGARH – Noisy scenes were witnessed on the opening day of the Punjab Budget session today with Akali MLAs led by Sukhbir Singh Badal and Lok Insaaf Party MLAs Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh staging a walkout over obituary reference to former Punjab DGP KPS Gill. Members of the BJP, an ally of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), chose to remain mum.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators, who were led by HS Phoolka and Sukhpal Khaira, opposed tributes to Gill but unlike its ally (Lok Insaaf Party) did not walk out.
As Speaker Rana KP Singh read out the former DGP’s name, an agitated Sukhbir, SAD president, interrupted the proceedings. “Why the need for an obituary reference to a person who killed innocent youth,” he asked. Sukhbir’s remarks were expunged.
Even as the three BJP legislators—Som Parkash, Dinesh Babu and Arun Narang— kept sitting, all Akali MLAs marched out. “We are alliance partners but we have had different stands on certain issues in the past too,” explained Som Parkash.
Khaira said the SAD had no right to oppose Gill’s name as it had given the party ticket to the wife of police officer Mohammad Izhar Alam, a Gill loyalist. As the members stood up to observe a two-minute silence, he said AAP would not observe silence in Gill’s memory. Talwandi Sabo MLA Baljinder Kaur (AAP) spoke of 70 farmers who had committed suicide since March. As suggested by her, the House paid tributes to them too.
Targeting the Akalis, Amritsar MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu joined Dera Baba Nanak Congress MLA Sukhjinder Randhawa to seek an obituary reference to those who had lost their lives to drugs in the past 10 years. This was promptly accepted by the Speaker.
The House also paid its respects to Vinod Khanna (Gurdaspur MP), Nishan Singh, Gurdev Singh and Banta Singh (freedom fighters), Company Commander Raghubir Singh (CRPF), constable Lovepreet Singh, agriculture expert Dr Dilbagh Singh Athwal and Akali leader Kirpal Singh Khirnia.