CHANDIGARH: Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday issued a last-minute order revoking his assent to Thursday’s special day-long assembly session in which the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government was to seek a vote of confidence, citing the “absence of specific rules” to convene the House only for the purpose mentioned in the cabinet’s recommendation. Raj Bhavan had cleared the request for a special session the previous day, hours after the cabinet met to discuss BJP’s alleged attempt to lure AAP legislators.
AAP cried foul over the governor’s about-turn, with party convenor Arvind Kejriwal declaring “democracy is over” in Punjab. “How can the governor refuse a session convened by the cabinet?” Kejriwal tweeted. “When it appeared that ‘Operation Lotus’ had failed and the (opposition)numbers were not there, a phone call came from the top to withdraw permission.”
The governor’s office said a review of his original decision was necessitated by representations from the opposition and based on legal opinion sought and received from additional solicitor general of India Satya Pal Jain.
The move came as a bolt from the blue for CM Mann, who returned from a trip to Germany on Monday and convened a cabinet meeting the very next day to discuss BJP’s alleged bid to poach 10 MLAs.