Punjab CM Mann moves confidence motion, accuses Congress of supporting BJP's 'Operation Lotus'

Source: PTI | Published on 27th September 2022, 7:30 PM | National News |

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday moved a confidence motion in the state assembly, two days after Governor Banwarilal Purohit gave his nod to convene the House.

The governor's assent had come following days of squabble between the Raj Bhavan and the AAP government over holding a session.

On Tuesday, BJP MLAs Ashwani Sharma and Jangi Lal Mahajan walked out of the House after Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan announced that Mann would move the confidence motion.

In the Assembly, Mann accused the Congress of supporting the BJP's "Operation Lotus" and alleged that its MLAs ran away from discussion in the House.

Mann wanted to convene a special session on September 22 after the AAP claimed that at least 10 of its MLAs were approached by the BJP with an offer of Rs 25 crore each under its "Operation Lotus" in a bid to topple the six-month-old government.

The governor had on September 21 withdrew permission to hold this special Assembly session when the AAP government wanted to bring a "confidence motion only".

He then had approved the state 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 during the one-day session.

During the discussion, Mann took a dig at the political developments in Rajasthan, where MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot did not meet the party's central observers.

"The Congress is in such a situation that nobody wants to take over as its president."

He also attacked the BJP, saying the saffron party feels only it 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.

While two BJP MLAs had walked out, the Speaker named some Congress MLAs for repeatedly disrupting the House proceedings, forcing a brief adjournment of 10 minutes on two occasions.

When the House reassembled after being adjourned for the second time, the Congress MLAs had not left the Assembly.

The Speaker then directed that they be marshalled out.

He also ordered the Congress MLAs not to attend the session for the remainder of the day.

Among the opposition camp, only SAD MLAs, the lone BSP and the lone Independent legislator were present in the House.

Hitting out at the Congress, Punjab minister Aman Arora alleged that the Congress is acting as the BJP's "B team to oppose us".

After Mann and Arora spoke during a discussion on the confidence motion, the Speaker adjourned the House till Thursday when a debate on the confidence motion will be held.

In the 117-member Assembly, the AAP has 92 MLAs, Congress 18, SAD three, BJP two, BSP one, while one is an Independent.

Senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa, who is the Leader of the Opposition, questioned the AAP government's move, saying that in the rule of Punjab Vidhan Sabha nowhere it is mentioned that the ruling party can bring a confidence motion.

He told the Speaker that when he asked about the confidence motion during the Business Advisory Committee meeting of the House, he did not get a reply.

It means no regard is being shown to the Constitutional head, he said referring to the Punjab governor denying permission for bringing a "confidence motion only".

As the House met in the morning, the Congress members sought to know whether Zero Hour was being held as they had to raise certain issues.

When Mann and Arora got up to speak, they were repeatedly interrupted by the Congress members.

The Speaker then told them not to raise slogans and rush to the Well of the House.

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

"In Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, they could not take care of their own House. You dont let anything be debated here, outside you demand that the House should be of longer duration," he said.

"Mr Bajwa, it means you are facing some loss if 'Operation Lotus' fails," Mann said.

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