CHANDIGARH: Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Shiromani Akali Dal legislator Bikram Singh Majithia locked horns during a discussion on the state budget in the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday. Sidhu was also accused of using a casteist slur against Akali MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu.
Trouble started when Majithia, who is the brother-in-law of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, allegedly saw Sidhu making faces when Congress MLA Vijay Inder Singla was speaking from the treasury benches. Seeing Sidhu’s actions, Majithia quipped that it seemed that the minister wanted to dance and he should be allowed to do so. To this, Sidhu immediately reacted by saying that he was trying to find out how much sand would fall in case Majithia was suspended upside down, hinting at the alleged nexus between the sand mafia and the SAD.
Earlier, the House was adjourned for half an hour as SAD MLAs, led by SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, staged a walkout demanding an apology from Sidhu for using an anti-Dalit remark against Akali MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu. Sukhbir urged Leader of Opposition HS Phoolka of AAP to join them, but Phoolka declined.
SAD said the party would move a privilege motion against Sidhu if he did not apologise. Tinu said that he was hurt by the derogatory words directed at him by Sidhu while replying to a question in the House. “I have given written complaint to the Speaker seeking action against Sidhu over his anti-Dalit remark and will approach National Scheduled Castes Commission against him. We will bring a privilege motion against Sidhu if the Speaker's response to our complaint is not found satisfactory,’’ he said.
BJP legislator from Phagwara, Som Prakash, also alleged Sidhu had used objectionable words against him.
However, speaking later outside the House, Sidhu said that he never used the casteist slur against Tinu, and that some other member had used it. He said, “Sukhbir talked of maryada (dignity), but he himself never adhered to it. He has no answers to the issues I raise against the Badals in the house. I asked Phoolka that since he did not sell ‘chitta’ (drugs), why was he supporting the Akalis? I stand by my statement.”