Assembly Session: Oppn Slams Punjab Govt For Not Tabling Bill Against Farm Laws On Day 1
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The Opposition parties here on Monday slammed the Punjab government for not tabling legislation to counter the Centre's farm laws on the first day of the special assembly session, which was adjourned till Tuesday. Reacting to it, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said they are consulting constitutional experts over the issue and copies of various bills to be tabled during the session will be given to the opposition parties by the evening.
- Last Updated: October 19, 2020, 20:52 IST
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Chandigarh: The opposition on Monday slammed the Punjab government for not tabling a Bill to counter the Centre’s new farm laws on the first day of a special assembly session, which also saw a dharna in the House by AAP MLAs. The Aam Aadmi Party MLAs sat in the Well of the House till late evening demanding copies of the Bill which the state’s Congress government is now expected to introduce on Tuesday. Earlier, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said the state government is consulting constitutional experts on the issue and copies of various bills to be tabled during the two-day session will be given to the opposition parties by the evening.
Even after the adjournment of the session for the day on Monday afternoon, AAP legislators continued their dharna, demanding copies of the Bill to counter the legislation enacted at the Centre. Leader of Opposition and AAP leader Harpal Cheema said they will continue the protest till they get copies of this and other Bills to be tabled during the session.
AAP will support the legislation against the farm laws but the government should supply us with its copies. We haven’t got copies of other bills as well. How can our legislators discuss and debate important issues, Cheema said. The Shiromani Akali Dal said the Bill should have been introduced on Monday.
A delegation of the party met Speaker Rana K P Singh in the evening and objected to not getting copies of the Bills to be tabled in the assembly. The SAD leaders termed it a “murder of democracy”. Earlier reacting to it, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said they are consulting constitutional experts over the issue and copies of various bills to be tabled during the session will be given to the opposition parties by the evening.
The two-day special assembly session began with obituary references with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh leading the House in paying homage to the farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing agitation against the farm laws. Punjab MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the assembly session for the first time since his resignation from the state Cabinet last year.
SAD MLAs rode tractors to reach the Vidhan Sabha in protest against the farm laws. They tore copies of the Centre’s farm laws. AAP MLAs staged a protest outside the assembly complex wearing black capes. They tore and burnt copies of the farm laws.
The House was adjourned for an hour by Speaker Rana K P Singh after the assembly took up obituary references. The House reassembled for nearly 15 minutes before being adjourned till Tuesday. As it reassembled, Harpal Cheema said the special session was called to counter new farm laws but the members “have not been given copies of the bills”.
“Will we get copies of the bills after the session is over,” he asked. SAD member Gurpratap Singh Wadala said it seems the state government “does not have clarity” over the issue.
The main bill against the Centre’s farm laws should have been first tabled and discussed in the House, he said. “The entire Punjab is watching what the government is doing. The legislation to counter the Centre’s farm laws should have been the first business of the House,” said the SAD leader.
Senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia told reporters that a “fixed match is going on between the Congress government in Punjab and the Centre”. “It seems the state government is under the Centre’s pressure,” he said, adding that the government is not clear what it intends to do.
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal told the members in the House that they will get copies of bills to be tabled in the House in the evening. He, however, said, “As far as countering farm laws is concerned, the government is already in consultation with constitutional experts.” Earlier, the Speaker told the House that only urgent and important government business will be transacted during the session. He said questions or calling attention notices will not be taken up.
As soon as the session began, Amarinder Singh led the House in paying homage to all farmers who have lost their lives during the ongoing agitation. However, SAD leader Majithia demanded that names of the farmers who commit suicide should also be included in the obituaries.
The House also paid respects to freedom fighters, soldiers, political and other eminent personalities. On the request of Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, the Speaker also consented to include the name of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was shot dead by two unknown assailants in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district last week, amongst the obituary references.
All members observed a two-minute silence as a mark of respect.
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