Impasse ends as Punjab governor summons assembly on Sept 27

Chandigarh: Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Sunday gave his nod to convene a one-day session of the legislative assembly on September 27, ending the faceoff between the Raj Bhavan and the chief minister Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

The approval came a day after the state government informed the governor about the issues to be taken up during the session.

“In exercise of the powers conferred upon me by virtue of Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, I, Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Punjab, hereby summon the Sixteenth Vidhan Sabha of the State of Punjab to meet for its Third Session at 11.00 A.M. on Tuesday, the 27th September, 2022, in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Hall, Vidhan Bhawan, Chandigarh,” the governor said in brief order.

The governor’s go-ahead came after much back-and-forth with the AAP government over the agenda for the session. On Saturday, the state government softened its position and informed the Raj Bhavan that the issues such as GST, stubble burning, and power supply will be taken up in the day-long session.

Punjab assembly speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan on Sunday morning said the governor has acceded to the government’s request for holding the assembly session. “”The Hon. Governor, Punjab, has very kindly acceded to our request and summoned the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to meet for its third session on 27.9.2022 at 11.00 AM at Chandigarh,” he tweeted.

Mann, meanwhile, has convened a meeting of the state cabinet on Monday to approve the agenda for the session.

The AAP government on Thursday decided to hold a regular assembly session on September 27 after the governor withdrew assent for a special sitting called by it on September 22. The government had sought the session to bring a confidence motion, days after it accused the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to topple the government by bribing AAP legislators.

On Friday, the governor’s office sought details of the legislative business to be taken in the assembly session called by the state government on September 27, which led to strong reaction from the chief minister.

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann called the speaker’s order “too much”, stating that in 75 years, no president or governor ever asked for a list of legislative business before calling the session.

In a strongly-worded statement early on Saturday morning, the governor reiterated his position for seeking the list of legislative business and reminded Mann of his duties.

“After reading your (CM Bhagwant Mann’s) statements in today’s newspapers, it appears to me that perhaps you are too much angry with me,” the governor said in the release. “I think your legal advisers are not briefing you adequately.”

“Perhaps, your opinion about me will definitely change after reading the provisions of Article 167 and 168 of the Constitution, which I’m quoting for your ready reference,” he added.

The state government, in its reply the same evening, informed the governor about the business to be taken up in the session, while conveying at the same time that “the demand for agenda and details while it being met herein without prejudice cannot be a condition precedent for calling/convening of a session nor delay in convening of a session, once decided by the council of ministers, the decision of the latter being binding on the honourable governor”.