AAP fumes as Governor withdraws order summoning special session of Punjab Assembly – The Hindu
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday withdrew the order for summoning a special session of the Assembly, citing absence of specific rules regarding summoning of the Assembly to only bring a confidence motion.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had announced that it would convene a special session of the Assembly on September 22 to bring a ‘confidence motion’, following allegation that attempts were being made to topple its government in Punjab by offering bribes to its legislators.
The Governor’s decision invited sharp criticism from the AAP, but was welcomed by the Opposition parties including the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).
“In absence of the specific rules regarding summoning of the assembly for considering the ‘confidence motion’ only called by the Punjab government on September 22, 2022 through 3rd special session of 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha, I Banwarilal Purohit, hereby withdraw my orders dated September 20, 2022 regarding summoning the sixteenth Vidhan Sabha of the State of Punjab to meet for its 3rd (Special) session at 11 AM on Thursday in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha hall..,” read the Governor’s order.
The decision came against the backdrop of representations given by the Leader of the Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa of the Congress, Sukhpal Singh Khaira of the Congress and Ashwani Sharma, MLA and president of Punjab BJP, which asserted that there was no legal provision to convene a special session to move ‘confidence motion’ only in favour of the State government.
The letter sent to the Punjab State Assembly Secretariat, through Principal Secretary to the Governor, J.M Balamurugan, pointed out that the matter was examined and a legal opinion was sought from Satya Pal Jain, Additional Solicitor-General of India. The legal opinion suggested that there was no specific provision regarding summoning of the Assembly for considering the ‘Confidence Motion’ only, in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, it added.
“In the light of the above legal opinion, which establishes that there is no legal provision under Punjab Vidhan Sabha Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business that provides for convening a Special Session for Motion of Confidence only, Hon’ble Governor Punjab has withdrawn his Order dated 20h September, 2022 regarding summoning of the State Assembly on 22 September, 2022, copy of which is enclosed,” read the letter.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said the Governor’s decision had raised big questions surrounding the country’s democracy. In a tweet he said, “…Will the democracy be run by the elected representatives, who have been elected by crores of people or by a person appointed by the Central government…Constitution of Bhimraoji on one side and operation Lotus on the other. Public is watching.”
AAP MP Raghav Chadha in a tweet said: “Hon’ble Governor’s withdrawal order raises a serious question mark on his intent. It is beyond any reasonable understanding as to why there should be any objection to a government’s decision to face the Assembly? This order further proves the sinister design of Operation Lotus.”
SAD president Sukhbir Badal said that if Mr. Mann was concerned about bribery charges, he should have sought or requested for a Central Bureau of Investigation or High Court probe.
“We welcome the decision as it saved crores of rupees of public exchequer on a meaningless AAP PR exercise,” he said.
Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said the Congress welcomed the decision. “This was another unconstitutional act of the Punjab government which was rightly been nipped in the bud,” he said.
BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, in a tweet, said “Blinded by the failed Delhi model Bhagwant Mann must have forgotten that Vidhan Sabha is governed by rulebook not by stand-up comedy or dramatics…”
The AAP had alleged that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by agents of the BJP from Delhi over the phone, who allegedly offered ₹25 crore to each of them to quit the AAP and join the BJP.
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