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Punjab Governor cancels special session of Assembly

Democracy is over, says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal; opposition parties welcome the decision.

SNS | Chandigarh |

Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit on Wednesday withdrew the order summoning a special session of the Punjab Assembly on September 22.

Governor Purohit in an order issued today said that the order issued on September 20 stands withdrawn in the absence of specific rules regarding summoning of the Assembly for considering the ‘confidence motion’ the Punjab government.

Earlier in the day, opposition parties including the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party had given representations to the Governor, stating that there is no legal provision to convene a Special Session to move ‘confidence motion’ only in favour of the state government.

“This matter was examined and a legal opinion was sought from Satya Pal Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India. He has given his legal opinion that there is 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,” a release from the office of Principal Secretary to the Governor said.

Shiromani Akali Dal today said that the decision of Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit to withdraw the consent for Special Session of Punjab Assembly called by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led AAP government has saved the wastage of public money which he and the Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal wanted to waste just for a political gimmick.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said with this, Mann’s game plan has been scuttled. “Rather than resigning after being exposed, he (Mann) had resorted to diversionary tactics. Moreover, if he was concerned about bribery charges, he should have sought for a CBI or a HC probe. We welcome the decision as it saved crores of rupees of public exchequer on a meaningless AAP PR exercise,” said Badal.

The AAP, however, said that 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,” said AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha.

“How can the Governor refuse a session called by the Cabinet? Then, democracy is over. Two days ago, the Governor gave permission for the session. When Operation Lotus started failing and the number was not completed, a call came from above asking to withdraw the permission. Today the country has a constitution on one side and Operation Lotus on the other,” AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet.

After the AAP accused the BJP of trying to topple its government in Punjab through ‘Operation Lotus,’ Punjab Chief Minister Mann had said that a special session of the Punjab Assembly on 22 September would seek a “vote of confidence.” A decision to this effect was taken during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The AAP on September 13 accused the BJP of trying to topple its government in Punjab through ‘Operation Lotus.’ Addressing a press conference, senior AAP leader and Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema had said that under ‘Operation Lotus’ many leaders and agents of BJP from Delhi and Punjab have over phone approached at least 10 MLAs of his party and offered Rs 25 crore each to quit the AAP and join the BJP.