IEP Chandigarh, February 14
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday envisioned that the Special Orientation Program being organised for the MLAs of the state will act as benchmark for quality debates and legislative work in the Punjab assembly during the ensuing sessions.The Chief Minister, while addressing the MLAs during the inaugural session of the Orientation program here in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said that this is a path breaking initiative that will bring qualitative change in the functioning of the assembly. He said that people have elected the MLAs with a whopping mandate and they have high expectations from them. Bhagwant Mann said that these aspirations can be cherished through active participation of the MLAs in debates and law making procedures. The Chief Minister said that the time has come when all the political parties in the state must sink their differences and work in tandem with each other for safeguarding the interests of the state. He said that the political parties in other states unite for the common cause of their state and its people but this feature is missing in the state. Bhagwant Mann said that this is the need of hour to ensure that issues of the state are resolved at the earliest.Citing the example of a faulty decision of the Union government to supply coal to the state from its allotted coal mine via sea route, the Chief Minister said that this arbitrary decision of centre is irrational. He said that the state uses this coal for producing paddy which plays a key role in filling the food bowl of the country. Bhagwant Mann said that Punjab is being made to bear high expense of coal just which is unjustified, intolerable and unwarranted.The Chief Minister said that in democracy people are supreme and the government is run by the people elected by them. However, he quipped that some selected persons of the centre are just peeping their nose into the affairs of state which cannot be tolerated. Bhagwant Mann said that these selected persons should remain in the area of their own jurisdiction rather than locking horns with the elected representatives of people.The Chief Minister said that the Punjabis don’t remain isolated from politics and they take active interests in the political environment concerning them. He said that the Punjabis have inherited the leadership traits which can be judged well from the fact they have carved a niche for themselves even on foreign land. Bhagwant Mann said that Punjabis can be seen dominating the political field in Canada, England, New Zealand and other countries.The Chief Minister said that Punjab is the only state across the globe which has its franchise all over the world as Punjabis dominate the affairs in every other country. He said that the live session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha is seen across the globe with huge enthusiasm due to which the legislatures have a huge responsibility. Bhagwant Mann said that as the entire world is looking at us so we have a huge responsibility to maintain decorum while discussions in the Vidhan Sabha.The Chief Minister said that as the bouquet with flowers of various colors look beautiful and soothing in the same manner in a democratic system the opposition and treasury benches both are important. He said that both the opposition and ruling parties are a catalyst for healthy democracy. Bhagwant Mann said that both opposition and ruling party should play an active role for quality discussions in the house. The Chief Minister said that homework is very important for quality debates by the MLAs adding that all the legislatures must come prepared for these debates. He said that all the MLAs must remember one basic thing that the chairs on which they are sitting today were once occupied by the great stalwarts who had shaped the destiny of the state. Bhagwant Mann also asked the MLAs to visit the Parliament Museum in New Delhi to get knowledge about the rich legacy of democracy inherited by them.The Chief Minister also batted for starting Members reference service for the MLAs on lines of the Lok Sabha. He said that it will help the MLAs in raising the issues of public far more effectively. Bhagwant Mann also shared his experiences as MP in Lok Sabha with the members.Earlier, Speaker of Punjab Sabha Kultar Singh Sandhwan welcomed all the dignitaries during the special orientation program. He said that the orientation program will help a lot in improving the quality of debates and proceedings of the house. Kultar Sandhwan said that this session will prove to be beneficial for all the MLAs and the people of the state also.Addressing the gathering, Cabinet Minister Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar said that this program will be a boon for the first time as well as other MLAs. He said that this is a path breaking initiative which will have long term benefits for the state. Dr Nijjer urged the MLAs to take maximum mileage out of these sessions in which various experts will put forth their views.In his address, Leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa suggested that a cluster of MLAs be formed and Legislative assistants be associated with them. He said that this will help the MLAs in aptly raising the matters pertaining to their concern. Partap Singh Bajwa also hailed the Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha for holding this session and advocated constructive functioning of the house.Deputy Speaker of Vidhan Sabha Jai Krishan Singh Rouri proposed vote of thanks on the occasion.On the occasion, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker also felicitated the Chief Minister and other guests.