‘Death of democracy’: Arvind Kejriwal slams Punjab Governor for calling off Assembly session

Chandigarh: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday, asking how can he deny permission to an Assembly session sought by the state cabinet, after Purohit withdrew his order summoning a special session of the House for considering a “confidence motion only”. The Delhi chief minister also alleged that the governor withdrew his earlier order after he received a call from his “higher-ups”.

“How can the governor refuse permission to a session sought by the cabinet? There is no democracy in that case,” Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

He said the governor had earlier given his nod to the special Assembly session.

“When Operation Lotus started failing and the numbers (of MLAs) did not add up, a call came from the higher-ups asking to withdraw the permission. Today, there is the Constitution on one side and Operation Lotus on the other in the country,” Kejriwal said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Raghav Chadha said Purohit withdrawing his earlier order raises a “serious question mark on his intent”.

“This order further proves the sinister design of Operation Lotus,” he alleged in a tweet.

“It is beyond any reasonable understanding as to why there should be any objection to a government’s decision to face the Assembly?” Chadha asked.

Acting on a legal advice, Purohit on Wednesday withdrew his order summoning a special session of the Assembly on September 22, citing the absence of specific rules regarding convening the House for considering a “confidence motion only”.

The decision came after Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, another Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira and state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma gave representations to the governor that there is no legal provision to convene a special session of the Assembly to move a “confidence motion only” in favour of the government. Bajwa welcomed the governor’s decision.

“It is a historic decision,” he told reporters.

The Congress leader said no rules or procedures of the Assembly allow convening a session only for the purpose of moving a confidence motion in favour of the government. The governor has saved the institution, he said, while describing those associated with the AAP as “anarchists”. The AAP government in Punjab had sought the special Assembly session to bring a confidence motion.

The state cabinet had approved the summoning of the special session on Tuesday. It had approved the recommendation to be sent to the governor for summoning the special session of the House under Article 174(1) of the Constitution. Acting on the advice of the additional solicitor general, the governor on Wednesday withdrew his order summoning the special Assembly session.

The session was summoned days after the AAP accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of attempting to topple its government in Punjab. The AAP had recently claimed that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by the saffron party with an offer of Rs 25 crore each to switch sides in a bid to topple the six-month-old government.

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