- Ruling Aam Aadmi Party AAP called the Governor's decision "murder of democracy"
- Purohit withdrew his earlier order of summoning the special session of the Punjab Assembly
- Special session had been called by the Bhagwant Mann government amid a political slugfest with BJP
Delhi chief minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday slammed Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit for withdrawing orders calling for a special assembly session saying, "democracy is over."
The assembly session was called by CM Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government for a "confidence motion" but it was not allowed by the Governor due to the “absence of specific rules” to do so.
Bhagwant Mann slammed Governor Purohit for withdrawing his order of summoning a special session of the Assembly, saying not allowing it raises a big question on the country's democracy.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) called the Governor's decision "murder of democracy".
Purohit withdrew his earlier order of summoning the special session of the Punjab Assembly on September 22 while acting on a legal-advice.
The special session had been called by the Bhagwant Mann government amid a political slugfest with the BJP. The AAP has accused the BJP of trying to topple its government in Punjab.
On one side, there is the Constitution of BR Ambedkar, and on the other, "Operation Lotus", Mann said.
"The governor not allowing the Assembly to run raises big questions on the country's democracy," he said in a Punjabi tweet.
Delhi CM Kejriwal slammed Governor's move saying, "democracy is over."
"How can the governor refuse a session called by the cabinet... the democracy is over, two days ago the Governor allowed the session. When Operation Lotus started failing and the numbers were not complete, a call came from the Centre asking to take back the permission. Today, the country has a constitution on one side and Operation Lotus on the other," Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Acting on a legal advice, Punjab Governor Purohit on Wednesday withdrew the order of summoning the special session of the Assembly, citing absence of specific rules of convening the House only for considering a "confidence motion".
The decision came after Congress leaders Partap Singh Bajwa and Sukhpal Singh Khaira, and Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma made representations, arguing that there was no legal provision to convene a special session to move just a confidence motion in favour of the state government.
Addressing the media late Wednesday evening, AAP leader and cabinet minister Aman Arora dubbed the governor's move "murder of democracy" and expressed surprise that Purohit withdrew his order of calling the session "at the instance of three opposition leaders".
"I am surprised that the governor took the decision on the representations given by Congress leaders Partap Singh Bajwa and Sukhpal Singh Khaira, and Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma. It makes it clear that the Congress is hand in glove with the BJP," Arora, flanked by his ministerial colleague Harbhajan Singh, said.
"Show one rule which says the government cannot move a confidence motion," he added.
On the AAP's next step, Arora said Chief Minister Mann was meeting with legal and constitutional experts to decide the next course of action. He also questioned the advice of Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain, claiming he is a "BJP leader".
Arora further said that the session was called under Article 174 (1) of the Constitution of India.
However, there is no provision in the rules that the governor can withdraw his earlier order of calling a session, he said, wondering when the governor had started interfering in the decisions of the state government.
Arora asserted that once the session was called, the order could not be withdrawn. He said it was the first time that opposition parties did not want holding of an Assembly session.
Seeking to counter the opposition claim that a session for just moving a confidence motion cannot be summoned, the cabinet minister claimed that the motion of confidence can be moved in a state assembly and cited an example of Parliament.
Replying to a question, he claimed a motion of confidence gets priority over a no-confidence motion if that too is moved at the same time, and showing some documents.
Arora claimed that from 1952 till 2009, 27 no-confidence motions and 12 confidence motions were moved in Parliament.
He further said that the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan had in recent years also moved a confidence motion, as he slammed Congress leader Bajwa for opposing the special session.
The AAP had recently claimed that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by the BJP with an offer of Rs 25 crore to each in a bid to topple the six-month-old government under its "Operation Lotus".
With 92 MLAs, the AAP has an overwhelming majority in the 117-member Punjab Assembly while the Congress has 18, SAD three, BJP two and BSP one. The Assembly also has an Independent member.
(With inputs from PTI)