Chandigarh Confidential

Language barriers

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha had a hilarious session last week when Cabinet Minister Chunni Lal Bhagat read out an answer to a query regarding the cleaning of Budda Nalla in Ludhiana. The minister, who is adept at Urdu, had a tough time reading Punjabi. The Speaker, however, kept encouraging him through the answer by helping him with a word and a sentence, here and there.

Let it be

The absence of Congress MLAs inside the Punjab Assembly ensured that the ruling SAD-BJP MLAs had a rather smooth budget session. A woman SAD legislator was busy preparing a statement, she had to make in the House. Surprised at its brevity, she asked her PA if there was a need to prolong it. "It doesn't matter what you say madam, there is no Opposition in the house to raise any objection. Let it be," was the PA's advice.

Cross-firing within Cong

Even as the Opposition Congress was fighting the ruling alliance by holding mock sessions outside the Assembly complex in Punjab, there was a hint of dissent within the party. The CLP office claimed that attendance was better in the mock sessions than when the Congress was present inside. The numbers fell when new state party chief Partap Singh Bajwa appointed 13 MLAs to overlook arrangements for his coronation. What began as murmurs of dissent snow-balled into open display of loyalties on Bajwa's coronation day.

Lunch-dinner diplomacy

As both the Opposition and the ruling alliance competed for headlines in Punjab, journalists had a field day — receiving invites for lunches and dinners from both sides. While new Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa indulged scribes at the CGA Golf Range, the government was quick to host them at the Taj, on the day of the Assembly ruckus. There is yet another lunch invite for Monday, this time, from Finance Minister Parminder Dhindsa, before the session ends. Scribes, who had to cover both the House proceedings and the mock sessions outside, are not complaining.

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