Taking a stand against Sukhbir Badal’s call to gherao the Punjab Assembly on the first day of the upcoming budget session, the Punjab Congress has lashed out at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president for allegedly perpetrating a major fraud on the people of the state.

In a statement issued on Friday, Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar and cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu termed the SAD decision to gherao the Assembly as totally undemocratic and shameful.

It was further proof of the Akali leadership’s total disregard of parliamentary principles of democracy, said the Congress leaders, citing the Opposition party’s unconstitutional behaviour in the House during the previous sessions.

The Akalis had disrupted every session of the state Assembly since the Congress came to power, Jakhar and Sidhu pointed out, adding that these acts were clear evidence that Badal’s party did not want to have any meaningful discussion or debate in the House.

This was hardly surprising since it was more than obvious that the party had no political agenda nor did it have any facts to take on the government, said the Congress leaders.

Instead of playing the role of a constructive opposition, the Akalis seemed hell-bent on destroying the basic tenets of this democratic institution with their undignified acts, said Jakhar, lashing out at Sukhbir for trying persistently to cheat the citizens of Punjab with brazen falsehoods.

Sukhbir’s failure to join the discussions on the preparation of the 550th Prakash Utsav of Sri Guru Nanak Dev was also in line with the same destructive approach of SAD, he added.

Sidhu took on Sukhbir with a challenge to engage in meaningful debate on issues in the Assembly instead of trying to create a law and order problem by announcing its gherao on the first day of the ensuing budget session.

If he wanted to question the government on any of its policies or acts, let him do so in the House, said Sidhu, adding that the SAD president was evidently trying to wriggle out of any such discussion for fear of exposure of his fabrications.