Punjab budget session extended by one day

Chandigarh, Feb 14 (PTI)

The seven-day Punjab Assembly session was extended by one day even as the opposition Akali Dal accused the AAP of “playing B team” of the ruling Congress in not demanding extension in the budget session.

According to the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) report of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the session would now conclude on February 22, instead of February 21. The session commenced on February 12 with the governor’s address.

Non-official business and resumption of discussion on the governor’s address would take place on February 14 and 15. The budget will be presented on February 18 and there is a holiday on February 19.

The presentation of finance accounts, presentation of supplementary demands and general discussion on budget estimates would take place on February 20 while there will be non-official business on the following day.

The general discussion on budget estimates will resume on February 22, according to the report. Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had proved that it was the “B team” of the Congress with Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema refusing to even demand extension of the budget session to debate on burning issues of the state.

Addressing a press conference here, former ministers Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Bikram Singh Majithia said never before had any opposition party in Punjab remained a “mute spectator” to the “murder of democracy” in the state.

“The manner in which Harpal Cheema remained quiet in the meeting of the BAC when discussion was held on the tenure of the session and in the Assembly today shows that the AAP is working in collusion with the Congress,” the former ministers alleged.

Dhindsa claimed that during a meeting of the BAC, he had repeatedly requested Cheema to register his protest at the manner in which the Congress was pushing for an extremely short one-week budget session.

“Cheema did not pay heed to my requests and when voting was to take place on the recommendations of the BAC, Cheema refused to demand a longer session to discuss issues of the youth, farmers, employees and Dalits,” he claimed.

The Akali leader while speaking about three AAP legislators, who had resigned from the primary membership of the Assembly, said they stood disqualified as per the constitutional provisions. “However the Speaker has not taken a decision on this matter.

I only want to ask one thing. Are these MLAs above the constitution? How are they getting salary, house facility and security? Who will bear this expense eventually? They must answer these questions as they concern constitutional provisions as well as morality and ethics,” Majithia said.

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