‘Confidence motion’: Cabinet nod for summoning of special assembly session, Oppn questions move
The special session has been called by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government amid a political slugfest with the BJP over the latter’s alleged attempts under ‘Operation Lotus’ to offer money to its legislators to topple the government in the state
Chandigarh : The Punjab cabinet on Tuesday approved summoning of the 3rd special session of the 16th Punjab Vidhan Sabha on September 22 to move confidence motion in the favour of the state government.
A decision to this effect was taken during a meeting of the council of ministers chaired by chief minister Bhagwant Mann. A spokesperson of the chief minister’s office said the cabinet approved the recommendation to be sent to the Punjab governor for summoning special session of the House under Article 174 (1) of the Constitution of India. The session will start with obituary references at 11am, followed by moving of a confidence motion in favour of the state government.
The special session has been called by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government amid a political slugfest with the BJP over the latter’s alleged attempts under ‘Operation Lotus’ to offer money to its legislators to topple the government in the state.
Announcing his decision to convene the session, Mann had repeated his party’s allegations against the BJP, claiming that they tried to lure the AAP MLAs and offered them money to bring down the state government.
Last week, finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema had also accused the BJP of offering ₹25 crore each to 10 party MLAs to try and topple the government. On the basis of a complaint submitted by nine AAP legislators, Punjab Police on September 14 registered a first information report (FIR) into AAP’s allegations against the BJP for attempting to topple its government in Punjab and the case was transferred to the Vigilance Bureau. However, no names or mobile numbers of the accused have been given in the FIR registered under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 120-B and 171-B of the Indian Penal Code.
No provision for confidence motion, says Bir Devinder
The opposition parties have raised questions over the special session convened by the state government for “confidence vote”. Bir Devinder Singh, former deputy speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said there is no provision for confidence motion in the rules of business of the state assembly. “As per Rule 58 sub-rule (1) of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, only a no confidence motion can be brought against the council of ministers. No motion can be moved without the permission of the explicit rule,” he said.
The former deputy speaker also urged Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit to take cognisance of this and call for the rulebook. “There is no provision for confidence motion because unless and until a no-confidence motion is passed with a majority vote on the floor of the House, it is presumed that the government enjoys confidence,” he said.
Vote of low confidence: Warring
Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring also questioned the government’s move, saying that nobody challenged it about having lost the numerical majority in the state assembly. “By enacting a theatrical ‘confidence show’, you cannot win the confidence of people that you have already lost by your various acts of omission and commission. It is not the vote of confidence, but the vote of low confidence,” he said in a statement. He said that given the numerical advantage the AAP government has in the state assembly, it is a foregone conclusion that it will win the confidence of the House.
Bajwa terms Mann’s special session nothing but a sheer melodrama
Terming the special assembly session summoned by chief minister Bhagwant Mann on September 22 an act of “sheer theatrics”, leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa said there was no need to indulge in wasteful public expenditure on such an event.
Bajwa said as per convention and the practice it was the prerogative of the opposition parties to bring on no confidence motion against the government of the day in the state legislature.
“ Why does the Bhagwant Mann government feel threatened just after six months of coming into power. It shows either the AAP MLAs are already disillusioned with the party and are ready to switch sides or it is a sheer drama to cover up its non-performance,” said Bajwa.
He said that by calling the assembly session to bring in motion for the trust vote in favour of his own government, Mann was only trying to deflect attention of the people from the real issues.
Bajwa said that Mann should present evidence on the floor of the house on September 22 to back his party ‘s allegations. Since the inquiry has already been given to Punjab Vigilance Bureau, he hoped that by the time of the one-day assembly session the AAP government would be able to produce some concrete evidence pertaining to operation lotus so that the real culprits behind the entire exercise could be exposed before the people of Punjab.
Bajwa said he had earlier urged Mann to convene a special session on the issue of sacrilege, drugs, Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing incidents and other significant issues pertaining to the state.