Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislative party wings on Wednesday asked Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh to disqualify seven Congress legislators for accepting an office of profit besides disqualifying and debarring four MLAs who had resigned from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for violating ‘The Representation of Peoples Act’.
The delegation, led by SAD legislative party leader Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Bikram Singh Majithia and BJP’s Arun Narang, apprised the Speaker that a grave constitutional crisis had arisen in Punjab.
“Seven Congress leaders — Raj Kumar Verka, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Kuljit Singh Nagra, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Tarsem Singh DC — has invited disqualification upon themselves by accepting the post of advisers in the rank of Cabinet or Minister of State,” the delegation said, adding the appointment was in violation of the 91st Amendment of the Constitution which stated that the total number of Ministers shall not exceed 15 per cent of the total strength of the House.
SAD-BJP delegation also brought to the notice of the Speaker that the Congress Government had burdened the State exchequer with expenses of crores to extend Cabinet rank facilities to the new advisers.
The members said this was done at a time when 25 lakh students were not getting mid-day meal, SC scholarships were on hold, sugarcane dues were not paid to farmers, Government employees were not getting Dearness Allowance and no money was released even for such a pious occasion like 550th parkash purb of Guru Nanak Dev.
“With the appointment of the new Advisors, the total number of political appointees in the Government had risen to 27 with there being 13 advisers, four political secretaries, nine OSDs and one chief principal secretary.
We feel that if the Chief Minister feels the need of appointing Advisors from MLAs, he should reshuffle his Cabinet by dropping non-performers and inducting these seven MLAs while keeping in view the 15 percent ceiling limit,” the delegation added.
On the issue of four AAP MLAs who had resigned from the party’s primary membership, they said that the legislators had violated ‘The Representation of Peoples Act’ as the Tenth schedule says that “a member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such a political party”.
The representation said that all the four legislators had resigned as primary members of AAP.
It said that three MLAs — Sukhpal Singh Khaira representing Bholath assembly segment, Nazar Singh Manshahia from Mansa and Master Baldev Singh from Jaito — resigned from AAP eight months back in January 2019, while Amarjit Singh Sandoa had resigned in May 2019.
They said that there was no ambiguity about the resignations or subsequent actions of MLAs. “Khaira and Master Baldev Singh formed a new political party called Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) while Mansahia and Sandoa had joined the Congress party,” he said.
The representation said that there should not be two set of rules while pointing out that the Karnataka and Haryana Speakers had taken action and disqualified legislators who had switched parties within a time bound period.