‘No evidence, resolution led to Cong MLA’s suspension’

No audio or video evidence and the resolution passed by the ruling benches led to the suspension of Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Singh on Wednesday, said Punjab Assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, while addressing mediapersons on Thursday. Atwal added that he had passed the resolution as the opposition did not come to his chamber for talks and the resolution moved in the House went unopposed.

"Revenue Minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia had a right to read crime statistics of other states while participating in the law and order debate. The Speaker's role is to moderate. So after the house was adjourned, I called a meeting of both sides to reach a consensus. Though the Assembly secretary and deputy secretary went to the opposition leader to invite them for talks, they did not budge. So, when a resolution was moved by the ruling benches, it was passed," Atwal said. On evidence against Rana, Atwal said he could not hear him amid the din and slogan-shouting. "I saw his body language and aggressive postures. But I could not hear him," he added. On abuses hurled by Majithia, he said he did not hear them either. However, when informed that it was telecast live on the ruling party's channel, and had gone viral on social media site YouTube, he said all abuses had been expunged.

While the Speaker on Wednesday and Thursday condemned the language used in the House by Rana, he censored the conduct of Majithia only when he was specifically asked by the media. "I condemn all words and actions that lower the dignity of the House, including those used by Majithia," he said. On the charges of the opposition that he was biased, the speaker said, "For the first time in my long political life have I seen the opposition raise slogans against the Assembly speaker and accuse him of being bias. They have set a bad precedent".

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