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Punjab Government Moves Supreme Court Over Convening Assembly Session: AAP

The row between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann escalated with Purohit indicating he is in no hurry to summon the Assembly's Budget session

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Punjabs CM Bhagwant Mann and AAPs Raghav Chadha
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The Punjab government has been "forced" to move the Supreme Court over the issue of summoning the budget session of the state assembly as the governor is not responding to the cabinet's decision in this regard, Aam Aadmi Party national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said on Sunday. The matter will be mentioned in the apex court tomorrow morning.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann alleged that the governors appointed by the Centre are "acting as star campaigners of the saffron party in the respective states". The row between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann escalated with Purohit indicating he is in no hurry to summon the Assembly's Budget session, and reminding the CM about his “derogatory” response to a letter from Raj Bhavan.

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The Punjab Cabinet had decided to call the assembly session from March 3 and requested the governor to summon the House. However, Purohit in a letter told Mann that he will take a call on summoning the Budget session only after taking legal advice on the CM's response to the issues raised by him in an earlier letter.

"...Till date Governor not reverted on this issue," Chadha said on Twitter.

In another tweet, he said, "Settled law that Governor has to summon assembly as per advise of Cabinet sought to be overridden by Governor... We have been forced to move Supreme Court on something as basic as summoning budget session of Punjab Assembly. Matter will be mentioned tomorrow morning in SC."

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Mann in response said, "Glimpses of the world's largest democracy: Go to the Supreme Court for the appointment of Mayor despite having majority in Delhi (MCD)..Go to the Supreme Court for appointment of Deputy Mayor... Now, to conduct the budget session of Punjab Assembly, have to move the Supreme Court... Search for democracy continues."

Face off through letters

The clash of letters erupted when the governor in a letter dated February 13 had asked Mann to explain the process of selecting 36 government school principals for a training seminar held recently in Singapore, and raised other issues as well, saying he had received complaints of “malpractices”. Purohit had said he would seek legal advice for further action if Mann doesn’t reply within a fortnight. He also questioned other decisions taken by the AAP government. 

Bhagwat Mann tweeted his response, stating that, "Hon'ble Governor Sir, your letter was received through the media...All the subjects mentioned in the letter are all state subjects. I and my government are accountable to 3 crore Punjabis according to the Constitution and not to any Governor appointed by the Central Government. Consider this as my reply."

He also questioned the Centre's criteria for appointing governors. Purohit called Mann's replies not only “patently unconstitutional but extremely derogatory also”, saying he was compelled to take legal advice.

(With inputs from PTI)

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