CM Bhagwant Mann counters Punjab Governor over law and order situation

Mann said that the Punjab Governor wrote 16 letters to him, nine of which have been responded to, and the rest are awaiting details.

BySouth First Desk

Published Aug 26, 2023 | 3:58 PMUpdatedAug 26, 2023 | 4:44 PM

Bhagwant Mann answers the Governor

A day after the Punjab Governor warned of recommending President’s rule in the state, Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann, on Saturday, 26 August, rebutted the “threat” issued by him.

Calling a special press conference, Mann accused the Governor of working against the interests of Punjab. Mann said he would not be scared by these threats.

He alleged that while the Governor was threatening to impose the President’s rule in the state, his counterparts in Manipur and Haryana are observing silence on the law and order situation there.

Banwarilal Purohit had on Friday warned the Mann government that he could recommend President’s rule in the state and also launch criminal proceedings if his letters to the state government were not answered.

Replied to most letters: Mann

Purohit has been accusing Mann of not responding to the letters sent to him, whereas the chief minister has claimed he has replied to all but seven such missives he has received.

Mann said that the Punjab Governor wrote 16 letters to him, nine of which have been responded to, and the rest are awaiting details.

Bhagwant Mann said that his government was busy handling floods in the state. He had written to the Union government to ease norms to distribute Disaster Relief Fund to affected people.

Mann appealed to the Governor to accompany him to the Center to relax the norms. He said that ₹9600 crore was lying in the disaster relief fund but couldn’t be distributed due to restrictions imposed by the Union government.

Also read: Punjab police bust cross-border smuggling module

Delay in passing the bills

Mann said that the Governor was asking him to reply to letters immediately, but six bills passed by Punjab Vidhan Sabha were pending with the Governor for months, but he had no time to sign them.

The Governor takes pleas seeking legal advice to delay the bills. He said that two bills of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s time were also pending with the Governor.

Speaking on the issue, Mann said, “The governor should not be in a hurry to write a letter and expect an immediate reply.”

He added, “Our government has been taking proactive steps to tackle the scourge of drugs, confiscating, raiding properties of smugglers, and going after gangsters with the formation of an Anti-Gangster Task Force while the Governor claims law and order in the state is not good.”

‘What are other Governors doing?’

Questioning the Governor further, the chief minister said, “I want to ask Governor Sahab, has the Haryana Governor issued any notice to Haryana Chief Minister Khattar regarding what happened in Nuh.”

He further said, “Communal clashes and violence which took place there and curfew that had to be imposed? Did the Haryana governor write any letter to Khattar? No, because their government is also ruling at the Centre.”

“Is the Constitution not applicable in Manipur? In Uttar Pradesh, a murder takes place in front of journalists, but will the UP Governor dare issue any letter to Yogi Adityanath questioning law and order?” quipped the chief minister.

Also Read: Punjab Governor warns ‘unresposive’ chief minister of President’s rule

Governor’s warning

In his latest communication on Friday, the Governor indicated he was upset over not getting any reply to his previous letters, and told the Punjab chief minister that he could send a report to the President on the failure of constitutional mechanisms in the state.

Purohit advised Mann to act before he took his final decision under Article 356 of the Constitution and Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code.
A state is brought under direct rule of the Union government with the invocation of Article 356, usually after a report is sent by the Governor.

Section 124 of the IPC relates to assaulting or wrongfully restraining the President or a governor from exercising their lawful powers.

Mann said that the Governor was trying to implement BJP’s agenda which the people of Punjab would never accept. He said that the BJP was making attempts to dislodge a democratically elected government in Punjab.