Sidelined Punjab Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu skips day 1 of Assembly session

Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with the chief minister, had resigned as minister from the Punjab cabinet last month after his portfolio was changed.

Published: 02nd August 2019 07:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2019 07:50 PM   |  A+A-

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

CHANDIGARH: Former minister and Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday skipped the first day of Punjab Assembly session, even as three AAP MLAs who had quit the party marked their presence in the House.

The monsoon session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha began here on Friday.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was among those who attended the session.

READ MORE | No decision yet on Navjot Singh Sidhu as Delhi Congress chief: PC Chacko

Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with the chief minister, had resigned as minister from the Punjab cabinet last month after his portfolio was changed.

The Congress MLA from the Amritsar East assembly seat has since remained incommunicado.

Sidhu, who is no more a cabinet minister, has been given a seat in the second row of the treasury benches in the House, officials said.

Earlier, when he was a minister, his seat was next to minister Brahm Mohindra in the front row.

READ MORE | Navjot Sidhu back in action; meets supporters, says not quitting Congress

The 55-year-old Congress leader was stripped of key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle in June.

The chief minister had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs departments and allotted him the Power and New and Renewable Energy portfolio.

Meanwhile, three Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators-- Nazar Singh Manshahia (Mansa), Amarjit Singh Sandoa (Roopnagar) and Baldev Singh (Jaito)-- attended the assembly session on Friday.

They sat in the last row of the benches allotted for AAP legislators.

Sandoa and Baldev said they attended the session to raise the issues of their respective constituencies.

When asked whether he will support the ruling party when opposition benches take on treasury benches, Sandoa said, "It will be seen when the time comes."

Notably, five AAP MLAs-- H S Phoolka, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Nazar Singh Manshahia, Amarjit Singh Sandoa and Baldev Singh-- had quit the party.

Except Baldev Singh, four others had also resigned from the assembly as legislators.

AAP had sought the disqualification of Khaira, who floated his own political outfit 'Punjab Ekta Party' (PEP), from Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Sandoa and Manshahia had joined the Congress before the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Baldev joined Khaira-led PEP and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Faridkot seat.

Meanwhile, AAP MLA Aman Arora met Speaker Rana K P Singh and surrendered his TA/DA allowance as he said no legislative business was carried out by the House after the obituary references on Friday.

"When no (legislative) work was carried out after obituary references today, I decided to surrender my TA/ DA," said Arora, adding the session went for just 14 minutes.

The legislator from Sunam said between 1948 and 1979, legislative business used to be conducted by the House even after obituary references.

"From 2003 onwards, no work is being carried out on the day when tributes are paid to the departed souls," he said.

With Saturday and Sunday being holidays, the House will reassemble on Monday and will adjourn sine die on Tuesday.

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