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Congress MLAs’ status in Punjab assembly ‘unclear’

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Chandigarh:  Nearly two months after 43 legislators in Punjab tendered their resignations from the assembly over an SC ruling on the SYL Canal issue, there is uncertainty on their status.

Forty two legislators of the Congress, led by Leader of Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi, and an independent legislator had tendered their resignations from the state assembly on November 11, 2016, to protest against the Supreme Court ruling.

Punjab assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, who had called the legislators on Tuesday to verify their resignations individually, said that the legislators were “unable to appear” before him and they have communicated the same through a letter on Monday.

The letter was from the Punjab Congress Legislature Party’s Secretary A.C. Kaushik, and it informed that the concerned MLAs could not present themselves before the Speaker asking for 10 days time.

This was told to the media in a statement from the Speaker’s office.

It further said that in accordance with the norms, Atwal had called the concerned MLAs to his office earlier once more between December 20-22, 2016, to ensure that the resignations by the MLAs were tendered of their own accord.

But similarly in a letter then as well from the Secretary of the Punjab Congress Legislature Party on December 15, it was informed Atwal the MLAs, who had resigned, were busy in Delhi and could “not present themselves before the Speaker”.

Earlier, too, a timeframe of 10 days was requested said the communication from the Speaker’s office.

The Speaker then called the MLAs on January 3, again.

The statement from the Speaker also said that the time for the next meeting would be fixed only after a written request in person was made along with the signature by the Leader of Opposition.

The apex court, which was hearing the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal matter on water-sharing between Punjab and Haryana, had ruled on November 10, that Haryana should get more water from Punjab.

The Punjab government had refused to share any additional water with Haryana even after the ruling, leading to a stalemate over the matter.

The Punjab assembly has a strength of 117 members.

The resignations by the Congress lawmakers came at the fag end of the tenure of the outgoing assembly. Assembly elections in Punjab are likely to be held next month.

Punjab Congress president and Lok Sabha MP from Amritsar Amarinder Singh, who is a former Chief Minister of Punjab, also resigned from his parliamentary seat following the Supreme Court ruling.

IANS

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