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Oppn. turns up the heat after Punjab Governor seeks clarifications on Bill

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SAD demands govt. shelve bid to amend disqualification law

With Punjab Governor V.P. Singh Badnore seeking from the State government certain clarifications on the Punjab State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2019 — relating to conflict of interest in the case of appointment of six MLAs as advisers to the Chief Minister — the politics surrounding the issue has started gaining momentum as the Opposition has turned up the heat against the ruling Congress government, demanding it to withdraw the Bill.

The Bill was sent to the Governor for his approval after it was passed during the two-day special session of the State Assembly in November. Mr. Badnore has asked for clarifications on certain provisions of the Bill and related matters, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday, dismissing reports that the Bill has been returned by the Governor.

The Minister-officers concerned had been directed to clarify the issues raised by the Governor so that a suitable response could be shared with the latter at the earliest, to pave the way for inclusion of MLAs in the exempted category covered under conflict of interest provision of the Prevention of Disqualification legislation. “The Governor’s letter had been forwarded to the Chief Minister’s Office and the necessary response would be submitted soon,” the spokesperson added.

The Congress government had in September this year appointed four MLAs as advisers (political), while Kuljeet Singh Nagra of Fatehgarh Sahib, was appointed adviser (planning), in the Cabinet rank and status. Tarsem Singh DC of Attari was designated adviser (planning) with the rank of Minister of State.

The Opposition, meanwhile has hit out hard at the Congress government, asking it to immediately withdraw the Bill.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon said: “The Governor has posed thirteen queries to the government clearly indicating that the Bill does not stand Constitutional scrutiny. It would be better for the Congress government to withdraw the Bill and apologise to Punjabis for riding roughshod with the Constitution by acting against the 91st amendment which clearly states that the strength of the Ministry cannot be more than 15% of the strength of the members of the Vidhan Sabha.”

He added that the nature of queries indicated that the Governor was prima facie not satisfied with the amendments.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 8:21:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/oppn-turns-up-the-heat-after-punjab-governor-seeks-clarifications-on-bill/article30398348.ece

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