A shoe was hurled at Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia today while protesting Congress MLAs, who wanted a no-confidence motion to be taken up, threw papers at the Assembly Speaker as the House saw uproarious scenes on the concluding day of monsoon session.
The shoe flung from the opposition benches fell just short of where Majithia was seated. Protesting Congress MLAs also threw documents including pages from some CAG reports at the Speaker, who had to be protected by House staff.
A number of Punjab Congress MLAs had refused to vacate the Assembly, spending two nights in the House to press for a debate on the no-confidence motion moved by the party against the state government.
As the House reassembled today to meet after a holiday on account of Eid yesterday, the opposition Congress members immediately raised their demand before the Zero Hour could be resumed.
Heated exchanges were witnessed between ruling Akali-BJP benches and the Congress members.
Both Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Deputy, Sukhbir Singh Badal were present inside the House when the chaos unfolded.
Congress members raised slogans against the government inside the Assembly and created a ruckus demanding that time be allotted for discussion. Some of them rushed to the well of the House, and as pandemonium continued, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal adjourned the Question Hour for fifteen minutes.
When the House reassembled, the Congress members continued their protest in the well.
Senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar was seen telling something to the Speaker, who told the opposition member that he was “insulting the Chair” and asked him to take his seat.
However, as Jakhar remained adamant, Atwal said, “I think you don’t want that the House should be run smoothly. You are wasting the time of the House.”
The Speaker then suspended the Question Hour, the Zero Hour as well as two Calling Attention Notices and asked the concerned ministers to take up bills.
However, Congress members including the Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and other MLAs continued to protest near the Well of the House and flung papers including some CAG reports towards Atwal.
The Watch and Ward staff covered the Speaker, but Warring and some other MLAs kept throwing papers and other documents even as bills continued to be passed in the House.
In the melee, a shoe was hurled from the opposition side towards the ruling benches and fell just short of where Bikram Majithia was sitting.
Two Independent MLAs from Ludhiana, Simarjeet Bains and Balwinder Bains, both of whom are part of the ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’ floated recently by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, also protested near the Well of the House demanding their private resolution on water issue be allowed.
However, after the Assembly had passed the Bills, the Speaker adjourned the House sine die.
Yesterday, the protesting Congress MLAs had refused to accept Chief Minister Badal’s appeal to call off their protest.
As many as 26 Congress MLAs had been protesting against the decision of the Speaker not allowing a debate on the no-confidence motion which was defeated by a voice vote on Monday amid acrimonious scenes.
After the Assembly was adjourned by the Speaker on Monday, the Congress MLAs remained in the House and several of them even spent two nights there.
The no-confidence motion, admitted on September 8, was moved on several grounds, including “failure of the state government to protect the interests of Punjab on the SYL canal issue and deteriorating law and order situation in the state”.
The motion also alleged “emergence of mafia groups, rampant corruption, deteriorating fiscal position of the state and failure in apprehending the culprits behind the Bargari sacrilege case”.
The Assembly’s brief monsoon session started on September 8, and will be adjourned sine die today.