In escalating tensions between Punjab governor Banwari Lal Purohit and chief minister Bhagwant Mann, the former has sought clarification from the latter over the legislative business to be taken up in the special assembly session on September 27, evoking a strong reaction from the state government.

A statement issued by the Raj Bhavan in the evening stated, “On the letter of secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha dated September 27, requesting for order of approval by Honourable Governor for summoning the Vidhan Sabha on September 27, a letter from Punjab governor’s office has been addressed to the secretary of the Vidhan sabha seeking details of the legislative business to be taken up in the proposed assembly session.”

Hours later, the chief minister responded sharply to the clarification sought.

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s Rajya Sabha lawmaker Raghav Chadha also tweeted, saying that “legislative business is exclusive domain of Business Advisory Committee & Speaker, not of Governor”.

The war of words started after Purohit withdrew his assent to the special assembly session sought by the Punjab CM seeking a confidence motion over what it alleged was “Operation Lotus” by the BJP to destabilise the government. A letter from the governor’s office stated that the permission was withdrawn after legal opinion was sought following a representation from opposition parties.

The letter mentioned that leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, and BJP state president and MLA Ashwani Sharma had approached the Raj Bhavan, arguing that the House rules did not allow the convening of a special session “only to move a trust vote in favour of the state government”.

Soon after the withdrawal of assent, AAP legislators had marched towards the governor’s office in protest but were stopped by the police. The Punjab cabinet also met, calling for a two-day session from September 27, though this time apart from “Operation Lotus”, it included the power situation and stubble burning in the list of business transactions.

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