Chandigarh: Stopped by the Governor from holding a special sitting of the Assembly to seek a confidence vote, Punjab’s AAP government on Thursday decided to summon a session on September 27 and will also approach the Supreme Court over the Raj Bhavan move. Aam Aadmi Party MLAs took out a protest march over the cancellation of the special session that was earlier scheduled for Thursday. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said issues like stubble burning and electricity will be discussed in the September 27 session, likely to last a day.
But it’s speculated that the state government could also bring a motion to “prove” that it enjoys a majority in the House, despite the alleged attempts by the BJP to “poach” AAP MLAs. When Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema asked about it, he evaded a direct reply but said the business advisory committee of the House will decide which business is to be taken up on that day.
Cheema also asked why the Governor preferred the additional solicitor general of India over the state advocate general for legal opinion on the matter. “It was a black day when the Governor passed this order. He passed this order on the advice of the additional solicitor general of India, who is a former BJP MP,” said Cheema.
Earlier in the day, AAP legislators carried placards that said “stop murder of democracy” and “operation lotus murdabad”. They slammed the Congress and the BJP for allegedly being hand in glove. They were stopped from going towards the Governor’s residence as police had put up barricades about one km from the Vidhan Sabha complex from where they began their march.
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On the other hand, the BJP held a protest against the Mann government. Though they had planned to “gherao” the official residence of Mann here, police prevented them from heading towards it and used a water cannon to disperse them when they tried to force their way through barricades.
Police briefly detained some of the BJP leaders, including state unit chief Ashwani Sharma and Sunil Jakhar. The BJP accused the AAP government of failing on all fronts and indulging in “theatrics” to divert attention of people from burning issues.
Earlier, the state Cabinet decided that the government will move the Supreme Court against the cancellation of the session by the Governor, which it said was “arbitrary and anti-democratic”.
Before holding the Cabinet meeting, Mann also held a meeting with all AAP legislators at the Vidhan Sabha complex here to decide the party’s strategy. After the Cabinet meeting, Mann in a video message said, “It was unanimously decided that the Vidhan Sabha session will be summoned on September 27.”
Issues like electricity and stubble burning will be discussed in the session, added Mann. Later, he in a statement said the state government will approach the Supreme Court against the “arbitrary and anti-democratic” decision of the Governor to safeguard the democratic rights of people and federal rights of states. The CM slammed the Congress while accusing it of supporting the “Operation Lotus” of the BJP.
“It is ironic that the Congress, which is the biggest victim of this undemocratic operation, is standing by the side of the saffron party,” said Mann.
He said the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP are “hand in glove” for this “sinister” move, aimed at toppling the democratically elected government. The Congress and the BJP have marginalised regional parties, alleged Mann, adding that now they want that power should remain confined to them only.
Mann said they will not be threatened by pressure tactics. Punjab will send a message to the entire country that in democracy people are supreme, he said. Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia urged the Punjab Governor to mark an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court into the allegations of money offered to the AAP MLAs.
The inquiry should specify whether any BJP leader or any middleman offered Rs 25 crore each to AAP legislators to switch sides, he said. “If this is so, action should be taken in the case,” said the former minister. He said if the allegations are found to be false then, action should be taken against its leaders for befooling people and insulting their mandate.
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