Punjab Assembly: Governor says won’t allow session

Chandigarh, February 23: The rift between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann today took a new turn with the gubernatorial head saying he will allow the Budget session of the state only after taking legal advice on the “extremely derogatory and patently unconstitutional tweets” of CM Mann in response to his letter earlier this month.

The Governor wrote a letter to the Chief Minister today, stating that he would take a decision on summoning of the Vidhan Sabha Budget session only after taking a legal opinion on Mann’s tweets and a letter. The Punjab Cabinet, at its meeting held on Tuesday, had recommended that the Budget session should be held from March 3 to 24. A letter seeking the Governor’s assent for summoning the Budget session was sent to him thereafter.

After receiving the Governor’s letter this evening, the state government is now reportedly exploring its legal options for summoning the Budget session. In a letter to the CM, Governor Purohit has reproduced tweets and a letter posted by Mann on February 13 and 14 in response to his written communication. The Governor had then hit out at the AAP government, raising questions on its various decisions, including the lack of transparency in selecting teachers to be sent to Singapore for training. Purohit had also questioned the appointment of a “tainted” person as chairperson of Punjab Infotech. Incidentally, the selected candidate – Guninderjit Singh Jawandha – assumed charge as Punjab Infotech chairman yesterday.

Reacting to the accusations, the CM had stated that he was accountable only to the people of Punjab and “not to any Governor appointed by the Central Government”.

Interestingly, the CM today chose not to respond to the Governor’s letter. Though Mann held a press conference on the Investors’ Summit in the evening, he did not talk about the issue. He, however, did take a dig at some “beneficiaries of the system who choose to create hurdles when a political party like the AAP tries to change the system”.

Mann said the LG in New Delhi created a hurdle when the Arvind Kejriwal-led government tried to send teachers abroad or ensured doorstep delivery of certain services.