The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab on September 24 sharpened its attack against Governor Banwarilal Purohit, alleging that he is acting at the behest of the BJP.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party’s chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj asked him to be mindful of his limits and not to cross the "Lakshman rekha".
The fresh attack came a day after the Governor’s office sought details of the legislative business to be taken up in the proposed September 27 Assembly session. Mr. Purohit had come under fire after he stopped the government from holding a special Session of the Assembly on September 22 to bring a "confidence motion".
AAP leader and Punjab Cabinet Minister Aman Arora said his government does not want any confrontation but it will be unacceptable to the ruling party if anyone tries to stop them of exercising their constitutional rights.
Mr. Arora accused Mr. Purohit of cancelling the earlier special session scheduled for September 22 at the instance of the BJP-led Centre to make the party's "Operation Lotus" a success.
“The Governor is acting at the behest of the BJP,” he alleged addressing the media in Chandigarh. "A shameful incident took place yesterday, which has not happened in the past 75 years. The Governor issued a new letter to the Punjab government to know about the legislative business," said Mr. Arora.
As per convention, the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the House having representatives of all political parties decides the legislative business to be taken up. "If 117 MLAs want to discuss and resolve public issues, then why is he fearing," asked Mr. Arora.
He alleged that the Governor houses in States with non-BJP governments have become places for “hatching conspiracies”. “In Delhi, where the AAP is in power, the Lieutenant Governor is acting like an Opposition,” he alleged.
"In Punjab, the BJP has two MLAs and the Congress is fully supporting them. I feel that the Centre has given the responsibility of playing the role of Opposition to the Governor here because of which such letters are being issued every day. It is very unfortunate," alleged Mr. Arora.
Asked whether the State government will provide the details sought by the Governor, Mr. Arora said a decision in this regard will be taken after the Chief Minister and the Vidhan Sabha Speaker hold legal consultations.
Whether the confidence motion will be moved, he evaded a direct reply. "Just wait for it. Whatever happens will be before you," he said.
Asked if the Governor has again denied permission for the Assembly session, Mr. Arora said, "Let him do so, we will plan accordingly." Mr. Arora asked the Governor to play his role and not to interfere in the functioning of MLAs.
“As per convention, the Governor gives approval to the recommendation of the Cabinet for holding a session and then before the session, the Business Advisory Committee mutually decides about the issues to be discussed,” he said.
"Now, what to say about the Governor, the kind of work he is doing, now I suspect he may say he will sit here (in the session)," Mr. Arora said. Mr. Arora said there is no provision of sending the list of the House business to the Governor.
"The House has 100% right over it. Elected representatives are members of the BAC, headed by the Speaker. There is no role of Governor in it," he asserted.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at party headquarters in Delhi, the AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj condemned the Punjab Governor for seeking details of the legislative business.
"The BJP-appointed Governor of Punjab is acting as if he is a school principal and elected members of the State Assembly are his students," he charged.
He accused the Punjab Governor of “interfering” with the State Assembly’s work and dubbed his action “against the dignity of democracy”. “Democracy will not survive if the Governor functions in such a manner,” he charged.
"The Governor is behaving like the viceroy of Britishers, Lord Mountbatten, dictating what to do and what not," the AAP chief spokesperson said. "We vehemently condemn it. The Governor must understand his limit and Lakshman rekha," he added.