A day after Punjab Governor withdrew his consent to summon a special one day Vidhan Sabha session to take up the “trust vote” citing legal reasons, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have come face to face in Punjab.
On offensive, AAP-led Punjab Government on Thursday decided to convene a “regular” session on September 27 “to discuss important issues like the power situation and burning of stubble” besides holding a “shanti march” against the Governor’s move to cancel the Thursday special assembly session. The Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has also announced to move the Supreme Court against the Governor’s “arbitrary and anti-democratic” decision to cancel the permission of holding the Assembly’s special session, after giving permission for the same. All this came after the Chief Minister held back-to-back meetings with all party MLAs; and later that of the Cabinet.
On the other hand, Punjab BJP too launched a protest against the AAP over its allegations of attempts to topple the AAP Government by offering money to its MLAs or threatening them with ED and CBI probes. The leaders and party workers, led by Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma, gave arrests after they were made to face water cannons and lathis on their march towards the Chief Minister’s residence in Chandigarh’s Sector-2.
Cabinet approves convening ‘regular’ assembly session on Sept 27
Punjab Cabinet, in a meeting called on Thursday in the wake of Governor’s withdrawal of consent, has decided to convene the session — this time to “discuss important issues like the power situation and burning of stubble”, instead of moving the “confidence motion”.
In an official statement, the spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that as per clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, the Governor is authorized to summon the State Legislature to meet at such time and place, as he thinks fit. However, there should not be a time gap of more than six months between two sessions of the State Legislative Assembly. “The second (Budget) Session of the 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha was concluded on June 30, 2022, so the Cabinet has recommended convening the third Session of the Assembly on September 27, 2022,” added the spokesperson.
Mann, while informing about the decision, said that the State Government has now decided to summon the session of state assembly on September 27 to discuss various issues pertaining to State.
A senior AAP leader, who did not wish to be named, told The Pioneer that this time, the assembly session would be a regular session. “As the governor has cancelled his consent for the specials session, we have decided to hold a regular session…it may be of two days…And there will be a Question Hour, Zero Hour, legislative business as usual. And, in the session, we will table the confidence motion as we had planned earlier,” added the leader.
Will move SC against Governor’s decision: CM
Punjab Government will approach the Supreme Court against the “arbitrary and anti-democratic” decision of the Governor to cancel the special session of the Legislative Assembly, said the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann a day after Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit had withdrew his consent to convene the special one day session, called by Mann, to get a majority on the floor of the House.
Calling out the Governor for his “irrational decision”, Mann said that the decision will be challenged in the Supreme Court to protect the democratic rights of the people and the federal rights of the states. Sources have also informed that Chief Minister has already asked those concerned to prepare a case on the same. It has also been learnt that the state’s Advocate-General’s office has also started working on the same, and the State may move the Apex Court in a couple of days.
AAP’s senior leader and Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that they will knock the doors of the Apex Court to oppose the decision of the Governor on not allowing the special session of the Legislative Assembly called by CM Mann. “It is unfortunate that Congress, the biggest victim of ‘Operation Lotus’, is supporting the BJP in this issue,” he said.
Punjab BJP leaders detained for attempt to Ghearo CM residence
Punjab BJP leaders, including its president Ashwani Sharma and Sunil Jakhar, among others, were detained on Thursday by the Chandigarh police when they tried to march towards the Chief Minister’s official residence. The police also resorted to mild lathi-charge and water cannons to stop the protesting BJP workers as they tried to force their way through the barricading near the party office in Chandigarh Sector 37-A.
The BJP leaders and activists, protesting against the ruling AAP’s “baseless” allegations of making an attempt to topple its government in Punjab, were detained for about an hour and released later.
The saffron party had demanded evidence for the allegations while terming convening a session to seek trust vote as AAP’s “political drama”. Sharma, addressing the gathering, said: “BJP won’t allow the AAP government to carry out a drama in the name of ‘Operation Lotus’.” At the same time, the party declared that it was open to probe into AAP’s allegations by the High Court’s sitting judge.
AAP held ‘shanti march’ from Vidhan Sabha towards Raj Bhawan
AAP’s all MLAs on Thursday held a ‘Shanti March’ from Punjab Vidhan Sabha towards the Raj Bhavan — the Governor's house, to protest against the cancellation of the special assembly session summoned to bring a confidence motion. Holding the banners of ‘Killer of Democracy’ and ‘Congress-BJP killing democracy’, ‘Stop Operation Lotus’, AAP MLAs and workers raised slogans against the Opposition alleging it of trying to halt the progress of the state government by working clandestinely against AAP in Punjab. MLAs dubbed the Governor's decision of withdrawing his earlier order calling the special session as a "mockery of democracy".