Chandigarh | Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Saturday alleged that Governor Banwarilal Purohit was threatening to impose President's rule in the state, while his counterparts in Manipur and Haryana are observing silence on the law and order situation there.
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 are not answered.
Purohit has been accusing Mann of not responding to the letters sent to him in defiance of his authority, whereas Mann has claimed he has replied to all but seven such missives he has received.
"The threat which the governor gave to the people of Punjab, peace loving people of the state, I will call it a threat – of imposition of the President's rule. He said I will recommend Article 356 and will recommend Governor's rule," Mann said at a press conference.
He 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.
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.
"I want to ask Governor Sahab, has the Haryana Governor issued any notice to Haryana Chief Minister Khattar regarding what happened in Nuh, 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," he said.
He said the Punjab governor was concerned about law and order in Punjab, but never gave a statement on Manipur which is racked with 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 governors' names, except those in Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, because they all are ruled by the non-BJP governments, Mann claimed.
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 takes 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 Centre 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.