Punjabis know how to fight back when suppressed: CM hits back at governor
Questions the silence of governors in Manipur and Haryana, the two BJP-ruled states that have witnessed violence in the recent past
A day after Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit warned Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of imposing the President’s rule, the AAP leader on Saturday (August 26) hit back saying he will neither bow down nor compromise, while also cautioning him “not to test the patience” of Punjabis.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, the chief minister said he was responding to the governor not as a CM but as a common man on behalf of 3.5 crore Punjabis. “We led from the front in our freedom struggle. We defended the borders of our country and fed the country with the Green Revolution. We stand with our country on all issues of national interest. However, we know how to fight back when suppressed, and we’ve proved it time and again in the past,” he added.
Purohit had on Friday (August 25) warned Mann that he may recommend imposition of President’s rule in the state over alleged failure of “constitutional mechanism” and initiate criminal proceedings under Section 124 of the IPC if his letters are not answered. The governor has been accusing Mann of not responding to the letters sent to him in defiance of his authority, whereas the latter has claimed he has replied to all but seven such missives he has received.
Also read: Punjab Governor to Mann: Respond to letters or get set for President's rule
‘What about Manipur, Haryana?’
Mann also made a veiled attack on the BJP, saying, “While our governor is threatening to impose President's rule in Punjab, his counterparts in Manipur and Haryana are mute spectators to deteriorating law and order situation there.”
“I want to ask Governor Sahab, has the Haryana governor issued any notice to Haryana Chief Minister Manoharlal Khattar regarding communal clashes and violence in Nuh district? Did the Haryana governor write any letter to Khattar? No, because their government is also ruling at the Centre,” he said.
He said the Punjab governor was concerned about law and order in Punjab, but never gave a statement on Manipur which has been ravaged by ethnic violence. “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,” asked the CM, apparently referring to the brazen gunning down of Mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed in April this year.
Most people would not know of their governor’s name, except those in Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, because they all are ruled by the non-BJP governments, Mann claimed.
'Governor delaying bills'
Mann said the Punjab governor wrote 16 letters to him, nine of which have been responded to, and the rest are awaiting details. “The governor should not be in a hurry to write a letter and expect an immediate reply,” he said.
The chief minister said he would reply to all the letters, but it takes time to collect data. At the same time, he also asked the governor whether he wrote similar letters to the Union government to release Rural Development Funds and GST share of the state.
Also read: Punjab governor threatens legal action against CM, vows not to use state chopper
Mann said the governor expects him to reply to his letters immediately, but six bills passed by Punjab Vidhan Sabha were pending with him for months and he has no time to sign them. “The governor takes pleas of seeking legal advice to delay the bills. Moreover, two bills of former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s tenure were also pending with the governor,” he alleged.
Mann said that while his government had 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, the governor claims law and order in the state is not good. He claimed Punjab is one of the best states in terms of law and order and has attracted investment of ₹50,871 crore.
Mann and Purohit have been at daggers drawn for quite some time now over issues like convening of special assembly sessions, appointment of vice-chancellors, steps initiated by the state government to deal with the rising drug menace, and the chief minister’s alleged statements against the governor in the state assembly.
(With agency inputs)