Cong stages walk-out from Punjab assembly

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Chandigarh, Sep 10 (UNI) The opposition Congress today staged a walk-out from the Punjab Assembly protesting against the failure of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to give the House a concrete assurance on specific cases of 'official atrocities'.

The Congress members walked out during the zero hour, unsatisfied with the assurances given by the Chief Minister on cases that were highlighted in the House by Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

However, the opposition members returned after 10 minutes when the House was taking up the Punjab Official Language (Amendment) Bill, to take part in the discussion on the Bill.

Earlier, as soon as the question hour ended and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Tikshan Sud moved a motion to adjourn the House sine die, Mrs Bhattal got up to demand the extension of the session by another day or two as a number of important matters needed to be discussed. In this context she referred to the floods in certain districts of Punjab which led to a large scale destruction of crops.

However Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon struck down the demand of the Opposition Leader and asked her to spell out the issues she desired to highlight.

Mrs Bhattal referred to the alleged beating up of a pregnant woman in police custody in Faridkot district and the murder of a sarpanch candidate belonging to her party in Sangrur district yesterday. She also referred to the rejection of the nomination papers of her party candidates in the Municipal Committee elections in Muktsar, the home district of the chief minister.

A number of other Congress members also took the government to task for the 'undemocratic' manner in which elections to various Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) were conducted recently. Mrs Bhattal made references to the rejection of the nomination papers of her candidates at a number of places.

She also pinpointed to the demolition drive being undertaken in Bathinda which has left many poor families shelterless. Mrs Bhattal also made a reference to the lathi-charge on Aaganwadi workers recently.

Referring to the incidents highlighted by Mrs Bhattal, the Chief Minister assured the House that he would inquire into the Faridkot and Sangrur incidents and the guilty would be dealt as per the law.

Regarding PRI elections, Mr Badal asked the Congress to approach the state Election Commission.

However his reply did not satisfy Mrs Bhattal and her party members and they staged a walkout.


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