Chandigarh: AAP legislators on Thursday took out a march in protest against the cancellation of the special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha here. Carrying placards with messages of “Stop murder of democracy” and “Operation Lotus murdabad'”, the party MLAs slammed the Congress and the BJP for allegedly being hand in glove and working against holding the special session of the state assembly.
However, the AAP legislators were stopped from moving towards the Governor’s residence. Police had put up barricades around one km from the Vidhan Sabha complex. The protesting MLAs sat down where they were stopped and started shouting slogans against the Congress and BJP.
No state minister was seen participating in the protest. The decision to take out the march was taken after Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann chaired a meeting of AAP legislators at Vidhan Sabha complex Thursday morning to decide the next course of action after cancellation of the special session.
The AAP legislators also hit out at Governor Banwarilal Purohit for withdrawing his earlier order of calling the special session on Thursday. “It (not allowing a special session) is completely unjustified. The state government can call the assembly session,” said Lambi MLA Gurmeet Singh Khudian.
He alleged that the Governor “at the behest of higher-ups” decided to cancel the session. “The BJP is doing wrong and democracy is in danger,” Khudian alleged. Moga MLA Amandeep Kaur told PTI that earlier the permission of summoning the assembly session was given and it was cancelled by the Governor later.
Mohali MLA Kulwant Singh too dubbed the governor’s move as “murder of democracy.” He also spoke against the BJP’s alleged Operation Lotus, saying the saffron party was trying to topple governments by offering money.
In an embarrassment to the AAP government in Punjab, the Governor had on Wednesday thwarted the Bhagwant Mann-led regime’s plan to summon a special assembly session to bring a confidence motion. The Governor withdrew an earlier order calling the special session on Thursday, saying it had sought legal opinion after the Congress and the BJP approached the Raj Bhavan arguing that the House rules did not allow it.
While the AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann slammed the Governor for not allowing the assembly session, saying it raises a big question on the country’s democracy, the opposition parties hailed Purohit for preventing the government from “sabotaging the constitutional and legislative practices and procedures”.
The AAP government in Punjab had sought the session to bring a confidence motion, days after it accused the BJP of trying to topple its government. The AAP had recently claimed that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by the BJP with an offer of Rs 25 crore to each of them in a bid to topple the six-month-old government under its ‘Operation Lotus.’