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States Assembly

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa spar in Punjab Assembly over Vigilance Bureau’s functioning

CHANDIGARH: Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa were involved in a heated exchange of words in the Punjab Assembly on Monday after the Congress leader raised questions on the functioning of the state vigilance bureau.

Alleging that Mann had made a ”threatening gesture by pointing a finger” towards the opposition benches, the Congress MPs demanded an apology from the chief minister and later boycotted proceedings for the rest of the day.

Participating in the debate on the motion of thanks on the governor’s address on the second day of the budget session, Bajwa referred to AAP MP Raghav Chadha’s Sunday statement in which he slammed the BJP government at the Centre, accusing it of misusing central investigating agencies like the CBI and ED against its political rivals.

”I was reading Raghav Chadha’s statement who said that the CBI, ED and NIA were conducting raids against opposition leaders every day. He opined that the BJP flag should be put up at their offices,” said Bajwa in the House.

”I also want to say to you (Mann), let us move forward. Tomorrow, do not force us to say ‘put the AAP flag at the vigilance office (in Punjab)’,” said Bajwa.

The chief minister immediately rose from his seat and objected to the Congress leader’s remarks.

Mann reminded Bajwa that a former chief minister of his party had submitted a list of “corrupt” ministers and MLAs to the Congress high command which ”instead of acting against them sat over the list to avert embarrassment for the party”.

”You cannot make such a statement that the AAP flag should be put up at the vigilance office,” Mann said and asserted that whosoever has done wrong will not be spared.

Bajwa asked the chief minister why he did not take action against AAP’s former state minister Fauja Singh Sarari. He also asked the reason for the ”delay” in arresting Bathinda Rural MLA Amit Rattan Kotfatta.

When Mann said his government will not spare anyone found indulging in corruption, Bajwa again asked the CM why a case was not registered against Sarari.

While naming several former Congress leaders who switched over to the BJP, Mann said whichever party they may join, if they are found involved in corruption they will not be spared.

Amid the verbal sparring, the leader of opposition told Mann, ”You are playing to the gallery. ” Despite Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan urging the two leaders to address the chair, both Mann and Bajwa continued their spat.

Bajwa asked Mann about the claim of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal during the state assembly polls last year that Rs 20,000 crore will be generated from the sand mining sector.

”How much money has been generated so far?” Bajwa asked Mann.

The CM retorted, “Do not try to become a math teacher”, and told Bajwa he will inform everything to the House when he speaks on the budget.

Mann also said he will speak on mafias that have been ”demolished” and who was involved in them and also took the name of a former chief minister.

“Bajwa saab akhan milao (Look me in the eye),” Mann told Bajwa who replied, “Akhan mila reha haan’ (I am looking at you).

Intervening in the matter, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira made some remarks against the chief minister, following which members from the treasury benches objected to it, prompting the Speaker to ask them to go back to their seats.

When the House reassembled after lunch, the Congress objected to Mann ”pointing a finger” at them and demanded that he apologise for the “threatening gesture”.

The Speaker adjourned the House for a brief period when the Congress members reached the Well and protested against ann.

Outside the House, the Congress leaders said they will decide the next course of action on Tuesday if the CM does not offer an apology.

Source: Press Trust of India

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