Impasse ends as Punjab governor BL Purohit summons assembly on Sept 27

Chandigarh: Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Sunday gave his nod to convene a one-day session of the legislative assembly on September 27, ending the faceoff between the Raj Bhavan and the chief minister Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

The approval came a day after the state government informed the governor about the issues to be taken up during the session.

“In exercise of the powers conferred upon me by virtue of Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, I, Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Punjab, hereby summon the Sixteenth Vidhan Sabha of the State of Punjab to meet for its Third Session at 11.00 A.M. on Tuesday, the 27th September, 2022, in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Hall, Vidhan Bhawan, Chandigarh,” the governor said in brief order.

The governor’s go-ahead came after much back-and-forth with the AAP government over the agenda for the session. On Saturday, the state government softened its position and informed the Raj Bhavan that the issues such as GST, stubble burning, and power supply will be taken up in the day-long session.

Punjab assembly speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan on Sunday morning said the governor has acceded to the government’s request for holding the assembly session. “”The Hon. Governor, Punjab, has very kindly acceded to our request and summoned the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to meet for its third session on 27.9.2022 at 11.00 AM at Chandigarh,” he tweeted.

Mann, meanwhile, has convened a meeting of the state cabinet on Monday to approve the agenda for the session.

The AAP government on Thursday decided to hold a regular assembly session on September 27 after the governor withdrew assent for a special sitting called by it on September 22. The government had sought the session to bring a confidence motion, days after it accused the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to topple the government by bribing AAP legislators.

On Friday, the governor’s office sought details of the legislative business to be taken in the assembly session called by the state government on September 27, which led to strong reaction from the chief minister.

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann called the speaker’s order “too much”, stating that in 75 years, no president or governor ever asked for a list of legislative business before calling the session.

In a strongly-worded statement early on Saturday morning, the governor reiterated his position for seeking the list of legislative business and reminded Mann of his duties.
“After reading your (CM Bhagwant Mann’s) statements in today’s newspapers, it appears to me that perhaps you are too much angry with me,” the governor said in the release. “I think your legal advisers are not briefing you adequately.”

“Perhaps, your opinion about me will definitely change after reading the provisions of Article 167 and 168 of the Constitution, which I’m quoting for your ready reference,” he added.

The state government, in its reply the same evening, informed the governor about the business to be taken up in the session, while conveying at the same time that “the demand for agenda and details while it being met herein without prejudice cannot be a condition precedent for calling/convening of a session nor delay in convening of a session, once decided by the council of ministers, the decision of the latter being binding on the honourable governor”.

Calling House session at short notice violation of norms: Punjab LoP Partap Singh Bajwa

Chandigarh : Leader of the Opposition (LoP) Partap Singh Bajwa today said calling the Vidhan Sabha session at such short notice had left them with no time to discuss any of the burning issues, including rampant illegal mining, Sutlej Yamuna Link or the growing incidents of confrontation between AAP MLAs and civil and police officials.

“The Governor should have given 15 days’ time before calling the session. The AAP government has denied the elected representatives the tool of debate under the legislative rules. I will take up the matter in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting,” the LoP said.

Questioning the intent of CM Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government in hurriedly convening the session, Bajwa said it was unfortunate that being a border state, there was many serious issues other than the GST, power and stubble-burning that need to be discussed on the floor of the House.

Bajwa further said, “There seems to be no emergent situation. A normal session could have been called before December, giving enough time to the members and the government to prepare. But the elected members have been deprived of using the tool of debate and discussion while adhering to the legislative norms.”

“What is the need of Zero Hour and Question Hour when there will be no meaningful discussion, given the duration between the calling and conduct of the session?” he said, adding the confidence motion was just to misguide the voters in the poll-bound HP and Gujarat.

“AAP is wasting state exchequer to discretely bring a confidence motion despite having a strong majority in the Assembly,” Bajwa added.

Another serious issue of AAP MLAs becoming law unto themselves and misbehaving with civil and police officials is becoming a law and order problem. “I have heard that a gang was recruiting youth online. It is a serious issue that needs to be discussed on the floor of the House,” he added.