Chandigarh: The five-day winter session of Punjab Assembly began on Monday with members paying tribute to late former Prime Minister I K Gujral, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, filmmaker Yash Chopra and others.

The House also remembered late comedian Jaspal Bhatti, former MP Dara Singh and actor Rajesh Khanna, before adjourning for the day.

Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal recalled the services of the personalities during obituary references in the Assembly. The House also paid tributes to former Kerala Governor S S Kang, former MLAs Zora Singh and Malkiat Singh, BSP General Secretray Mann Singh Manhera, among others.

The Members of the House observed two minutes silence as a mark of respect to the departed souls. Leader of House and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, leader of opposition Sunil Kumar Jakhar were present in the Assembly.

However, former Chief Ministers Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal were not present in the House. Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi had sought inclusion of ASI Ravinderpal Singh, who was allegedly shot dead by an Akali leader at Amritsar recently, in the list of persons to whom tributes were paid in the Assembly.

However, the Speaker rejected the MLA's plea on grounds that the police personnel was a government employee and as such his name could not be included. Before the commencement of the session, Jakhar along with 12 Congress MLAs met the Speaker urging him to allow live telecast of the debate on law and order situation in the state to be held on Tuesday.

Jakhar said that Opposition Congress would rake up issues of law and order, mining of sand and gravel and alleged "irregularities" in disbursement of discretionary grants and border area development funds during the session.


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