‘Abuses’ fly in House, Cong
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An alleged exchange of abuses between a minister and an MLA from the opposition Congress rapidly escalated into a massive row in the Punjab assembly on Wednesday, with the Speaker suspending the Congress leader and the Congress announcing a boycott of the remaining two days of the session in retaliation.
A shouting match began after Public Relations Minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia — brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal — rose to counter a series of allegations made by Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar during a debate on law and order.
Majithia argued that law and order in Punjab was better than in the neighbouring Congress ruled states of Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. Congress members rushed to the well of the House and accused Majithia of patronising criminals.
An undeterred Majithia alleged that the family of Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Singh had 20 arms licences at their Ekta House address in Kapurthala, and that Rana Gurjit had links with Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, who is accused of killing Hardeep Singh, brother of liquor baron Ponty Chadha, in a bloody shootout in Delhi on November 17.
Rana Gurjit was then seen striding menacingly towards Majithia, shouting at him. Majithia responded hotly.
Nothing could be heard in the din, but both men subsequently denied having abused the other. As leaders of both parties intervened, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal adjourned the House for half an hour.
After the House reassembled, Jakhar accused Majithia of having used unparliamentary language, a charge that the minister and his party members denied. Speaker Atwal intervened to say it was Rana Gurjit who had been abusive, and who ought to be sorry.
Sukhbir Badal got up to say that the House could not function till Rana Gurjit apologised or was removed. Taking the cue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal moved a resolution, and the Speaker suspended Rana Gurjit for the rest of the session. Congress members responded by staging a walkout.
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