Punjab Congress issues whip for session, no-confidence motion unlikely today

THE PUNJAB unit of the Congress issued a whip on Thursday asking all its members to be present in the House for all sittings of an expected tense day-long special Assembly session that will be convened on September 3 (Friday), during which the Opposition plans to corner the government.

The Opposition parties, SAD and the AAP, had said that they will bring a No-Confidence motion against the Chief Minister who they say “has lost the confidence of his colleagues”.

The whip, issued by Congress chief whip Hardial Singh Kamboj comes at a time when the party is battling another internal feud with four ministers and a few MLAs opening rebelling against Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and seeking his ouster. The government, in light of the discontent brewing in the party, had opted to keep the Assembly session short instead of convening a fell-fledged one.

Hardial Kamboj, while issuing the whip, made it clear that all MLAs are to be present in the Vidhan Sabha at 9:30am, even as proceedings start at 10 a.m.

According to rules, the government was necessitated to convene Friday’s session as it is bound to hold an Assembly session before September 9 — six months from the date of the last such session. Friday’ session will be held to commemorate the 400th Parkash Purab of Guru Teg Bahadur. In the special session, no legislative business is taken up.

Talking to The Indian Express, Kamboj said that there was nothing to read in the whip. “This is issued on every important occasion. The session is to celebrate the 400th anniversary of our ninth guru. Hence, we want all the party members to be present as several dignitaries will be attending it.”

The Punjab government had invited former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, and Vice President Venkkaiah Naidu to be a part of the session. Both have expressed their inability to participate.

Meanwhile, Speaker Vidhan Sabha, Rana Kanwarpal Singh said that he had not received any notice from the Opposition about their No- Confidence Motion. Leader of Opposition and AAP leader, Harpal Singh Cheema, confirmed that they had not given any notice of No-Confidence motion to the Speaker. “We have only given a memorandum to the Governor that the CM has lost confidence and he should be removed.”

Parambans Singh Romana, spokesperson of SAD, said that they will be giving the notice in the next session as this time it was a special session and as per rules, the No-Confidence motion would not be allowed by the Speaker.

Former Deputy Speaker of Vidhan Sabha Bir Devinder said that the Opposition was losing an opportunity, “They are cleverly skirting the issue. They should have given the notice. As per rules, a No-Confidence motion notice can be given ahead of a special session also.”

Meanwhile, three Cabinet ministers — Sukhbinder Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Randhawa, and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa — sources said, met the House Speaker on Wednesday evening. Congress leaders, however, downplayed the meeting. They said that Sarkaria had gone to meet the Speaker for some work. Bajwa and Randhawa joined him as they came looking for him.

PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, sources said, met AICC leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday evening. They added thatSidhu was told by both Priyanka and Rahul to stay away from controversies.

Amritsar (South) MLA Inderbir Singh Bolaria’s hoardings in his constituency asking the people to be ready for something “special” on September 7 and should keep their phones and themselves charged up, has also evoked a generous amount of curiosity among the locals.

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