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Sittings of Punjab Assembly session cut to two days; Opposition says govt trying to suppress its voice

Chandigarh: The business advisory committee of the Punjab Assembly on Monday decided to curtail the number of remaining sittings of the ongoing winter session from three to two, drawing sharp criticism from the opposition parties.

Under the new schedule, the Assembly will have one session each on Tuesday and Wednesday. Earlier, there were supposed to be two sittings Tuesday and one sitting on 29 November.

The business advisory committee (BAC), chaired by Speaker Rana KP Singh, took the decision at a meeting after the opening day's session in Chandigarh on Monday. "There will now be a single sitting on 28 November," said Punjab Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra, who is also a part of the BAC.

He said that there was no additional legislative work to be taken up during one more sitting of the session. He added the session could be extended if need arose. "The timing of the morning session tomorrow can be extended if need arises," he said.

 Sittings of Punjab Assembly session cut to two days; Opposition says govt trying to suppress its voice

File image of Punjab CM Amarinder Singh. AFP

The decision of the BAC came amid growing demand from the opposition parties for a longer session for taking up the burning issues of Punjab.

The Congress-led government had come under fire from the opposition parties for holding a three-day winter session of the Assembly. Lashing out at the Congress government, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and leader of opposition in the House Sukhpal Khaira said the government was trying to "suppress the voice of opposition which wanted to take up several issues concerning the people in the House". "There are several issues such as farmer suicides, law and order problem, illegal mining which can be discussed in the House," Khaira said.

Khaira, who is also a member of the BAC, said he recorded his dissenting note and walked out of the meeting.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday said the decision to further curtail the sittings of the ongoing session proved that the government was trying to "run away" from the debate. In a statement, the SAD president said it was shocking that legislative business in the ongoing session had been curtailed. "The SAD had submitted a memorandum to the Speaker demanding the session be extended to discuss emergent issues. The Speaker assured to look into the demand," he said.

However, the business advisory committee reduced the number of sittings, he said. "This proves that the government does not want to discuss any of the people's issues listed by the SAD including a discussion on the crisis in the farm sector, breakdown of law and order, withdrawal of all social welfare facilities and non-fulfilment of all promises made to farmers, youths and unemployed," he claimed.

The SAD president claimed the SAD-BJP alliance was not even consulted on the matter. "Former minister Ajit Singh Kohar was only invited as a special invitee in the business advisory committee meeting which decided to reduce the sittings in an arbitrary and dictatorial manner," he claimed.

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2017 07:40:48 IST