Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Partap Singh Bajwa wrote to the speaker on Wednesday, seeking to bring a censure motion in the House against Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. In the letter to Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Bajwa sought a relaxation as regards the seven-day notice required for bringing such a motion under rule 71 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Assembly. He accused Mann of “surreptitiously” moving a confidence motion in the House, “without quoting any rule”.
The Congress leader further claimed that it was totally against the communication of the business proposed to be listed before the House, as conveyed by the government through the Assembly secretary, which said the government proposed to take up legislative or government business that included burning issues of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), stubble burning and the power scenario.
Mann moved the confidence motion in the Assembly on Tuesday after the Congress MLAs were marshalled out for disrupting the proceedings, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators had walked out of the House. The Assembly session was convened after Governor Banwarilal Purohit gave his nod on Sunday to summon the House on September 27, following days of squabble between the Raj Bhavan and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Earlier, the governor had withdrawn the permission to hold a special Assembly session on September 22 when the government wanted to bring a confidence motion only. Meanwhile, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring condemned the speaker’s “partisan” role in ordering the party MLAs to be marshalled out of the House.
He said it not only amounted to “stifling” the voice of the opposition, but was also a “murder of democracy”. Warring said the AAP government had accused the governor of “murdering democracy” when the latter had raised genuine queries and here, the speaker threw out the entire opposition from the Assembly to enable the government to go for a “vote of confidence through the backdoor”. The Congress leader said the government had said the issues of power situation, stubble burning and GST would be discussed during the session but it never talked about any of those and instead, brought in a confidence motion when nobody had asked for it. He said the “honeymoon period” of the AAP government is over and it has to answer many questions on the “fake promises” it had made to the people of Punjab. Warring said the government had promised to install statues of Bhagat Singh and B R Ambedkar in the Assembly complex, which is not permissible as it is a heritage building.
“This is a classic example of how the AAP recklessly promises things, without realising whether such promises can be honoured or not,” he added.