Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder on Saturday dismissed the Akali charge of running away from burning issues on the pretext of Covid, saying it was the SAD which had taken refuge in the pandemic to keep away from yesterday’s session, as they did not want to be party to the resolution rejecting the anti-farmer Ordinances of the Union Government.Having supported the Ordinances as part of the NDA-ruled Government of India, the Akalis could not afford to vote for the resolution, and yet did not want to appear to be anti-farmer, said the Chief Minister, adding that in the circumstances, they found an easy way out in the guise of the pandemic to stay out of the Vidhan Sabha completely.“The Speaker and I had separately appealed to those MLAs who had come in contact with any infected legislators not to attend the session, but not a single Akali member turned up for the session,” said Captain Amarinder. It was clearly the Akalis who were running away, he quipped, adding that at no point were Opposition MLAs asked not to attend and the appeal/advice was for all members, including the ruling party. “In any case, if the Akalis are really so concerned about spreading the Covid and heeded the advice to stay away from the House on this ground, then why are they continuing with their street protests despite my repeated pleas to all political parties not to indulge in such activities, which endanger the lives of our people,” the Chief Minister asked.Captain Amarinder also ridiculed the SAD demand for another session of the Vidhan Sabha next month, when the state’s Covid figures are projected to peak.
They could not attend a day’s session because of Covid and want a full-fledged session at a time when the situation is expected to be worse, he remarked.He pointed out that despite several of its own ministers and MLAs testing positive, his government had decided to go ahead with the one-day session to meet the Constitutional requirement in this regard, as was being done by other states. Captain Amarinder cited the example of neighbouring Haryana, which had cut short its original 3-day Assembly session to one day amidst the pandemic crisis after several of their MLAs tested positive. “Haryana is run by a BJP government and BJP is a part of the same NDA-led government of which the Akalis are a part,” he pointed out, asking the SAD if Haryana was also being undemocratic by truncating their Vidhan Sabha session.Despite several of its own ministers and MLAs testing positive, his government had decided to go ahead with the one-day session to meet the Constitutional requirement in this regard, the Chief Minister said, pointing out that it was the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which had kept away in the guise of the Covid situation.While the Akalis were known for making unnecessary noise over non-issues, they had clearly hit a nadir in their dirty politics by resorting to petty politicking over a grave issue like the Covid, said Captain Amarinder. Instead of supporting the state government and strengthening its hands in the fight against the pandemic, like any good Opposition party should be doing, they (SAD) were only interested in promoting their vested political interests, he noted. “The people of Punjab are not fools, they can see through your theatrics and antics, and will not forget or forgive,” he said.