Punjab Assembly session, sho(e)ok up!
The protesting against the Speaker for not allowing a debate on their no-trust motion in the Punjab Assembly session ended in rather chaos. With Congress MLA TarlochanSoondh hurling his shoe at the treasury benches in retaliation against the “demeaning remarks” on members of his caste by SAD’s Virsa Singh Valtoha.
Outside the House, Leader of the Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi warned: “If anyone uses foul language for the Dalits, not one but 100 shoes will be thrown at that person.”
No customary farewell speeches and no handshake by members, the last Assembly session before the elections ended on a bitter note. As Soondh’s flying shoe landed close to Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, the latter brought the matter to the notice of the Speaker. The SAD and BJP members rushed to the well of the House and it seemed a clash was imminent.
However, the watch and ward staff created a wall between the Opposition and the ruling coalition MLAs. Amid the pandemonium, Akali ministers forgot they had to introduce important Bills and were reminded by the Speaker time and again to do so.
Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal told mediapersons later that he was examining the audio-video recording of the shoe-hurling incident that took placed while he was reading out the clauses of Bills, shielded by 15 guards, amid sloganeering by Congress MLAs who stood in the well of the House, throwing paper missiles.
The MLAs were protesting against the Speaker for not allowing a debate on their no-trust motion. Some of them had been camping inside the House since Monday.
Soondh, MLA from Banga, claimed he had thrown the shoe at Akali MLA Valtoha for his “casteist remarks”. Valtoha vehemently denied the charge. He said he would quit politics if proved he had made any such remark. Later, Valtoha submitted a complaint to the Speaker against the conduct of the Congress MLA. He wrote that Soondh had violated parliamentary norms and as a cover-up was levelling a false allegation against him.
Seeking an inquiry, he demanded that the House recordings be made public.
Dalit MLAs belonging to the SAD and the BJP criticisedSoondh’sconduct which, they said, had brought disgrace to the Assembly.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal “deposited” the shoe with the office of the Speaker, saying an inquiry would follow. He said he had demanded that the errant member be disqualified and the “strongest possible action” be taken.