Punjab CM moves confidence motion in state Assembly, accuses BJP of bid to topple Govt

CHANDIGARH,  Sep 27:  Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday moved a confidence motion in the state Assembly as he accused the BJP of the bid to topple his Government and alleged that the Congress is siding with the party.

The voting on the motion of confidence will be held on October 3.

AAP had recently claimed that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by the BJP with an offer of Rs 25 crore each in a bid to topple the six-month-old Government under its “operation lotus”.

The Assembly session was convened after Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Sunday gave his nod to it, after days of squabble between the Raj Bhavan and AAP Government over it. Earlier, the Governor had withdrawn permission to hold a special session on September 22 to bring a confidence motion only.

He then had approved the Government’s request to convene the House on Tuesday after it informed him that issues like stubble burning, goods and services tax and power supply will also be taken up.

The House was adjourned thrice on Tuesday as Congress MLAs disrupted the proceedings.

The motion was moved after the Congress MLAs were marshalled out while BJP legislators staged a walkout.      The BJP held a mock session near its state unit office here and brought a “no-confidence motion” against the AAP Government. The Congress MLAs too held a mock session out of the House.

After moving the confidence motion, Mann accused the Congress of supporting the BJP’s “operation lotus” and alleged that its MLAs ran away from discussion in the House.

Leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Partap Singh Bajwa said he will urge Governor Banwarilal Purohit to censure Mann for misleading him and the House over the issue of confidence motion and also get an FIR registered against the Chief Minister.

Mann said the Congress is in such a situation that nobody wants to take over as its president, taking a jibe at the party over the political crisis in Rajasthan where MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot did not meet central observers of the party.

He also attacked the BJP, saying it feels only they should be in power everywhere.

“Three crore people of Punjab have faith in us. I have full faith in my 91 soldiers (AAP MLAs),” Mann said.

Mann said he had thought that the Congress would stand by AAP after the BJP tried to poach its legislators. But they seemed to be supporting the “operation lotus”, said Mann.

Mann said the BJP tried to buy MLAs in Delhi also. “Our MLAs are not for sale in the market,” said Mann.

He also slammed former Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, accusing him of taking several anti-people decisions.

Earlier, some Congress MLAs were named by the Speaker for repeatedly disrupting the House proceedings.

After the House reassembled following obituary references, the Speaker informed the House about the confidence motion being brought by the CM while reading the report of the House’s business advisory committee.

He also said the session has been extended till October 3.

Then two BJP MLAs, Ashwani Sharma and Jangi Lal Mahajan, walked out of the House protesting that they were not called for the meeting of the House committee.

Senior Congress leader questioned the AAP Government’s move.

Nowhere it is mentioned in the rule that the ruling party can bring a confidence motion, said Bajwa.

Bajwa told the Speaker that in the business advisory committee meeting of the House, when he asked about the confidence motion, no reply was given.

It means no regard is being shown to the constitutional head, he said referring to the Punjab Governor.

You have basically challenged the powers of the Governor, Bajwa said condemning the move.

Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira sought zero hour from the Speaker who told him that ample time will be given to them later. But Khaira along with other Congress MLAs stuck to their demand, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for 15 minutes.

When Mann and Minister Aman Arora got up to speak, they were repeatedly interrupted by the Congress members who were demanding zero hour and also opposing the confidence motion.

The Speaker then told them not to raise slogans and the Congress legislators rushed to the well of the House.

Mann too lashed out at the Congress, saying “Those who want to teach us law, they should take care of their own house first.”

“In Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, they could not take care of their own house. You don’t let anything be debated here, outside you demand that the House should be of longer duration,” he said.

Hitting out at the Congress, Arora said the party is acting as the BJP’s B-team.

The Speaker named all Congress MLAs for continuously disrupting the House and asked the marshals to take them out.

The Congress legislators later staged a protest and held a mock session outside the House.

Meanwhile, at the mock session held by the BJP near its party office in Sector 37 here, party leader Sunil Jakhar moved a “no-confidence” motion against the AAP Government.

About AAP’s confidence motion, Jakhar said, “It is a fraud on the Constitution. The Government took permission (from the Governor) for something else and did something else”.

At the BJP’s mock session, six resolutions were taken up, including the ones related to drugs, plight of farmers, law and order and “non-fulfilment” of AAP’s promise of giving Rs 1,000 per month to women.  (PTI)