The Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Thursday decided to call a regular session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on September 27.
The decision to reconvene the assembly session with a revised agenda was taken at an emergent meeting of the state cabinet held under the chairmanship of chief minister Bhagwant Mann here. It came hours after Governor Banwarilal Purohit had on Wednesday cancelled the special session of the Punjab assembly called by the AAP government on Thursday for considering its “confidence motion”. The government also decided to challenge the governor’s decision in Supreme Court.
Mann said the cabinet unanimously decided to summon the assembly session on September 27. “In this session, issues like electricity and stubble burning will be discussed,” he said after the cabinet meeting, declaring that the AAP will not be cowed down. In the upcoming session, the chief minister is also likely to move the confidence motion, said party leader privy to discussions.
Earlier, the state government had slated the special session for Thursday for confidence vote only. The governor also had issued an order on September 20 to summon the 16th Vidhan Sabha for its third (special) session, but then withdrew it after the Congress and the BJP approached the Raj Bhawan and raised objections. “In absence of the specific rules regarding summoning of the assembly for considering the “confidence motion” only, the September 20 order is withdrawn,” the governor ruled in an order, evoking a sharp reaction from the AAP.
Mann and finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema, in separate statements, said they will approach the Supreme Court against the governor’s “irrational” action of withdrawal of the order calling the session. “This decision will be challenged in the Supreme Court to safeguard the democratic rights of the people and federal rights of the states,” the CM said before training his guns at the Congress for supporting ‘Operation Lotus’ of the BJP. Cheema also accused the governor of acting at the instance of the BJP. Asked about the duration of the session, parliamentary affairs minister Dr Inderbir Singh Nijjar that it will be decided in accordance with the list of business.
Earlier, AAP legislators held a protest march from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha complete to Raj Bhawan against the cancellation of Thursday’s special session and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly carrying out ‘Operation Lotus’ to topple the state government. Mann and his ministers did not join the march as they were in the meeting of the state cabinet. Carrying placards with slogans of “Congress-BJP killing democracy” and “Operation Lotus murdabad”, the protesting AAP leaders raised slogans against the opposition parties. They were, however, stopped by Chandigarh Police from marching towards the governor’s residence, but they squatted on the road and continued raising slogans. The AAP legislators accused the Congress and the BJP of joining hands against the special session and halt the progress of the state government, besides dubbing the governor’s decision of withdrawing his earlier order calling the special session as “mockery of democracy”.