The war of words between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Bhagwant Mann continues to escalate, with the latest salvo fired by the former over seeking clarification from the chief minister for the September 27 assembly session.
Responding to Mann’s press statements, Purohit said: “After reading your statements in today’s newspapers, it appears to me that perhaps you are ‘too much’ angry with me. I think your legal advisors 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.”
The statement quoted Article 167 which stated, “Duties of the Chief Minister as respects the furnishing of information to the Governor etc- It shall be the duty of the Chief Minister of each State-
(a) To communicate to the Governor of the State all decisions of the council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation;
(b) To furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for; and
(c) If the Governor so requires, to submit for the consideration of the council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the council
The statement also quoted Article 168 which stated: Constitution of the Legislatures in States-
(1) For every State there shall be a legislature which shall consist of the Governor, and
a) In states of ……two houses
b) In other states, one house
On Friday, Mann had tweeted: “Gov/Presi consent before any session of Legislature is a formality. In 75 years, no Presi/Gov ever asked list of Legislative business before calling session. Legislative business is decided by BAC and speaker. Next Gov will ask all speeches also to be approved by him.its too much (sic)”
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s Rajya Sabha lawmaker Raghav Chadha also tweeted, saying that “legislative business is exclusive domain of Business Advisory Committee & Speaker, not of Governor".
The war of words started after Purohit withdrew his assent to the special assembly session sought by the Punjab CM seeking a confidence motion over what it alleged was “Operation Lotus" by the BJP to destabilise the government. A letter from the governor’s office stated that the permission was withdrawn after legal opinion was sought following a representation from opposition parties.
The letter mentioned that leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, and BJP state president and MLA Ashwani Sharma had approached the Raj Bhavan, arguing that the House rules did not allow the convening of a special session “only to move a trust vote in favour of the state government”.