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Governor vs AAP

The Governor’s withdrawal of permission to hold the special session on September 22 has evoked mixed reaction.

It is Governor versus Aam Aadmi Legislature Party (AAP).

While AAP wants to prove its majority in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Governor, Banwari Lal Purohit, in his revised verdict says that there is no provision for holding a special session with a “single item agenda”.

The Governor’s withdrawal of permission to hold the special session on September 22 has evoked mixed reaction.

While the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and members of the AAP Legislature Party are red-faced on being refused special one-day session of Vidhan Sabha, other parties have welcomed the Governor’s ruling.

The Bhagwant Mann government was seriously considering a mock Assembly session to prove a point in support of parliamentary democracy.

Leader of Congress Legislature Party, Partap Singh Bajwa, and President of the State unit of Bhartiya Janta Party, Ashwani Sharma, too, lauded the decision of the Governor holding that there was no provocation for the AAP to prove its majority on the floor of the House as it enjoyed an overwhelming majority with 92 members in a House of 117.

Even former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Bir Devinder Singh, also apprised the Punjab Raj Bhavan that there was no provision for a single item emergency session of  Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The ruling party, however, held that the special session was being called  not only to reiterate the overwhelming majority enjoyed by Bhagwant Mann government but also to negate the efforts of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) through its Operation Lotus to destabilise the elected government.

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A group of AAP MLAs led by Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema and Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha had lodged a complaint (First Information Report) against “unknown” sources for trying to  engineer defections. In the complaint, the AAP MLAs claimed that some of them were being offered Rs 25 crore each to defect to BJP.

The BJP vehemently denied any such move and maintained that it was the figment of imagination of the AAP leadership. There was no idea to win over 10-15 MLAs from a ruling party with 92 members in a House of 117, the BJP leaders maintained.

The ruling, the officials said, was based on legal opinion sought by the Punjab Governor from Additional Solicitor-General of India, Satya Pal Jain.

The Governor  had earlier given his assent and summoned the one-day Special Session of the assembly.

“The governor not allowing the assembly to run, raises big questions on the country’s democracy. Bhim Rao Ji’s Constitution on one side and Operation Lotus on the other… People are watching,” said Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann.

The AAP  leaders are maintaining that the Governor was acting as an extension of the BJP.

The AAP alleged that the Governor was acting on the directions of BJP that had tried to topple the AAP government by either offering bribes or issuing threats to its MLAs, including the deputy speaker of Vidhan Sabha, Jai Krishan Rouri”.

“It proves the sinister design of Operation Lotus and raises a question mark over the intent of the Governor,” said Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha.

He held that the Governors were constitutionally bound by the advice of the State Cabinet. They have no discretion to overrule or turn down any decision of the Cabinet. The Governors must respect Parliamentary democracy.

Prabhjot Singh

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