Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit has turned down the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's demand for a special session of the assembly to introduce a confidence motion. The Governor has withdrawn the order to summon a special session of the Punjab assembly on September 22. His decision has triggered a massive point-counterpoint between all the major political parties in the state -- AAP, BJP, Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Reacting sharply to the Punjab Governor's decision, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "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."
राज्यपाल कैबिनेट द्वारा बुलाए सत्र को कैसे मना कर सकते हैं? फिर तो जनतंत्र खतम है— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 21, 2022
दो दिन पहले राज्यपाल ने सत्र की इजाज़त दी। जब ऑपरेशन लोटस फ़ेल होता लगा और संख्या पूरी नहीं हुई तो ऊपर से फ़ोन आया कि इजाज़त वापिस ले लो
आज देश में एक तरफ़ संविधान है और दूसरी तरफ़ ऑपरेशन लोटस। pic.twitter.com/BHwuyUG23X
Criticising the Governor's move, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted: "Not allowing the assembly to run by the governor raises big questions on the democracy of the country ... now democracy will be run by the elected representatives of crores of people or a person appointed by the central government..."
While Mr Mann has summoned a meeting of all AAP MLAs at the assembly today, BJP has announced that it will barricade the Chief Minister's residence.
AAP came down heavily on Congress and BJP, saying the two were in cahoots to cancel the special session of Punjab assembly. AAP termed the Governor's move a murder of democracy.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, Punjab's New and Renewable Energy Sources Minister Aman Arora said: "Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa is dancing to the tunes of the BJP to safeguard his Z+ category security. He is not concerned about saving democracy at all."
Mr Arora also cited how Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had convened a special session of the assembly for a vote of confidence when rival Congress leader Sachin Pilot and his loyalists were upset with the government of Mr Gehlot. He said that in the past 52 years, 27 times no-confidence motions and 12 times confidence motions had been initiated by different parties.
He added that Congress leaders were working as the "B team" of BJP, a term which he said was coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the country "Congress free".
राज्यपाल द्वारा विधानसभा ना चलने देना देश के लोकतंत्र पर बड़े सवाल पैदा करता है... अब लोकतंत्र को करोड़ों लोगों द्वारा चुने हुए जनप्रतिनिधि चलाएंगे या केंद्र सरकार द्वारा नियुक्त किया हुआ एक व्यक्ति... एक तरफ भीमराव जी का संविधान और दूसरी तरफ ऑपरेशन लोटस...जनता सब देख रही है... https://t.co/XWWqs2FYzj— Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) September 21, 2022
In a fresh order, the Punjab Governor said the earlier order stands withdrawn in the absence of specific rules regarding summoning of the assembly for considering the confidence motion that was called by the Punjab government.
Commenting on the Governor's decision, Raghav Chadha, AAP leader and party in-charge for the Punjab assembly elections earlier this year, tweeted: "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," he added.
Hon'ble Governor's withdrawal order raises a serious question mark on his intent.— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) September 21, 2022
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. pic.twitter.com/RU9RZjLzRE
AAP leaders have been complaining of poaching attempts by the BJP to topple the government in Punjab, as part of what AAP and other Opposition parties claim to be BJP's "Operation Lotus". The AAP leadership wanted to prove that their house was intact, through a confidence motion in the assembly.
Jeevan Gupta, the BJP General Secretary, Punjab, said the move to have a special session of the Vidhan Sabha was a drama, because no Opposition party had called for a no-confidence motion. The Governor has taken a step to stop the Punjab Government's wrong move, he added. "We had called a session to gehrao the assembly, but since the session is not happening, we will gherao the CM residence," Mr Gupta said.
BJP leader Amit Malviya, supporting the Punjab Governor's decision, today tweeted: "Punjab Governor's decision to annul the 'special session' of the Punjab Assembly is a welcome one, which is rooted in constitutionality."
Punjab Governor's decision to annual "special session" of the Punjab Assembly is a welcome one, which is rooted in constitutionality.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) September 21, 2022
The statute allows for a "No-confidence Motion" but there is no provision for a "Confidence Motion". It is illegal and also a joke on the people. pic.twitter.com/1VXfWyBA9r
Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring also hailed the Punjab Governor's decision. Attacking AAP, Mr Warring said: "It is obvious that it was a drama from day one and good that the curtains have been pulled down on their theatre of absurd at the right time", he remarked."
Welcoming the Governor's decision to withdraw his orders of summoning the assembly on September 22 for a special session, Warring said: "This (AAP) government has made a joke of governance and constitutional and legislative procedures. The Governor has done well to correct it."
Taking a swipe at AAP, Warring further said that while the party's leadership was alleging that its legislators were being approached with massive bribes to desert the party, it was not prepared to reveal the names of those who had made such offers. This made it more than obvious that it was a cock-and-bull story propagated by AAP to divert public attention from its failures, he added.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has said the Punjab Governor's decision helped prevent wastage of public money. The party said it was nothing but a political gimmick by the Punjab Chief Minister and Mr Kejriwal.
In a statement, senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia demanded a detailed inquiry to expose the real culprits behind the conspiracy that AAP had been claiming. He said that according to AAP claims, its MLAs were approached by BJP in Chandigarh. Therefore, as the administrator of Chandigarh, the Governor should issue orders for a detailed inquiry. He said that if AAP claims are proved false then action should be taken against the party's leadership.