Chandigarh, June 22: Even as the experienced speakers of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Lok Insaaf Party were unable to attend the Assembly on Wednesday due to their suspension over alleged unruly behaviour, the alliance held its fort strongly during the debate on the Budget.

Aam Aadmi Party’s woman MLA is the star of the debate as from AAP was its women wing president and Talwandi Sabo MLA Baljinder Kaur, who raised issues.

woman MLA

Led by the Leader of Opposition HS Phoolka, various speakers of the party raised public issues while the Congress and Akalis MLAs exchanged barbs. As promised by Phoolka and party vice-president and MLA Aman Arora earlier that they will not run away from the debate through walkouts or sloganeering as it was against the interest of the voters, the speakers picked holes in the Budget.

Only MLAs Sukhpal Khaira, Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Bains have the experience of debates as they were elected earlier. The remaining 19 AAP MLAs conceded that everyday in the session was a learning curve.

The star of the debate from AAP was its women wing president and Talwandi Sabo MLA Baljinder Kaur, who raised issues in her short speech eloquently. She alleged that the government had backtracked on loan waiver as it had not made a proper provision for debt waiver of all farmers.

Putting forward facts and figures, she reminded the government about its poll promise of free education to girls. “Ït seems you have already forgotten about it. There is no allocation for free education for girls in the Budget speech,” she said.

Comparing the Congress government with the previous Akali regime, she said only the faces had been changed and rest was the same as both made promises not to fulfil them. Phoolka took a dig at the claims of the Congress having received empty coffers from the previous regime. He wondered why Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh did not realise the coffers were empty when he made poll promises to the voters.

He said even in the Governor’s Address and the CM’s address, new promises were made, but there was no mention of the poor financial situation. “The government realised the empty coffers only when the Budget was presented,” he said, adding that the CM had promised loan waiver of Rs 50,000 of each Dalit under debt, but the Budget allocation of Rs 17.5 crore meant the needy person would get Rs 91 only, if 19 lakh Dalit families in the state were taken into account.

He said the government promised jobs, but there was no promise to fill vacancies. He attacked the government on poor allocation of 9 per cent to the education sector which was down from 14 per cent last year. He said AAP in Delhi had allocated 23 per cent of its Budget allocation to education. The neighbhouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh had allocated 15 and 14 per cent of the Budget to this sector showing the importance they give to it.

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