"New" Punjab Assembly: Capt. Amarinder Singh and MLAs take oath
Newly-elected Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and MLAs took oath on the first day of their maiden session of the 15th Punjab Assembly. Pro-tem Speaker Rana KP Singh administered the oath of the newly-elected while the others in the 117-member house will be administered oath on Monday. First-timer AAP with its 20 MLAs took the place of the principal opposition party.
As the 'Congress 77' occupied the treasury benches, the 15th Vidhan Sabha "sprang up" with festive hues from a house awash with the SAD's blue for ten years. The 117-member assembly was at its "colorful" best, not only in terms of the MLAs' turbans. Congress MLAs opted for pinks, purples, blues, and reds while AAP members mostly sported yellow and SAD legislators chose blue.
Another attraction at the assembly was the first-time legislators. The list of first-timers included a former cricketer, a Supreme Court lawyer, a former newspaper editor, and an opposition party MP's son. A record of 11 legislators under age of 36 took the oath. The youngest member of the house was the 25-year-old Congress MLA Davinder Singh Ghubaya, son of SAD MP Sher Singh Ghubaya.
The oldest member of the house is the 89-year-old five-time CM Prakash Singh Badal of Shiromani Akali Dal. The former CM and his son and SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal gave the first day of the house a miss.
After winning the election with a brute majority of 77 seats, the treasury benches cheered each Congress MLA who went to take the oath with the thumping of desks. Every Congress MLA sought the blessings of CM Captain Amarinder Singh. Another highlight of the maiden session's first day was the "newfound chemistry" between CM Amarinder Singh and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Congress and AAP legislators greeted each other as they went to the speaker to take oath. Treasury benches thumped desks for Leader of Opposition HS Phoolka as he took oath. The Akalis seated at the far end, however, felt the chill; neither Congress nor AAP greeted or cheered SAD MLAs. It's the first time that the SAD isn't even the principal opposition party.
The Lok Insaf Party's MLAs, Bains brothers - Simarjeet Singh and Balwinder Singh - received a bear hug from Navjot Singh Sidhu. In September 2016, Sidhu, the Bains brothers, and Pargat Singh formed a party called Awaaz-e-Punjab. The Bains brothers, however, fought in alliance with the AAP. While Bains brothers sided with the AAP, Pargat is now a Congress MLA, too.
The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House will be elected on 27 March. The Governor of Punjab VP Singh Badnore will address the new assembly on 28 March; a debate on the Governor's Address and Motion of Thanks will follow. Supplementary Grants for 2016-17 and the Vote on Account for 2017-18 would be presented on 29 March.