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Citing zero-tolerance to drugs, Governor warns of recommending President’s rule in Punjab

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Governor Banwarilal Purohit continue to be at loggerheads.

The ongoing rift between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann has widened further with Purohit warning of President’s rule in wake of Mann’s unresponsive attitude of official communications.

Purohit took offence to the alleged indifference of Mann government to drug menace and his communications regarding the same.

In his previous letters, the Punjab Governor raised questions on drug trafficking in the border state and asked Mann for an action taken report. He in his letter had highlighted that he has got reports from various agencies about availability and use of narcotics, and how it has become common that they are allegedly available in pharmacies and even in government-controlled liquor stores.

The Governor quoted a recent report by the parliamentary standing committee that said one in five people in Punjab is addicted to drugs.

“Recent action by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Chandigarh Police who have sealed 66 liquor vends in Ludhiana who are selling drugs, in a joint operation. Recent report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee that one in five are exposed or addicted to drugs in Punjab. These facts point out to the breaking down of the law and order system in Punjab so much so that now villagers have started protest on the streets in a large numbers and decided to setup their own village defense committees to protect themselves from drugs. Please send a report concerning the action taken by you in the matter of these drugs to my office immediately,” he added.

In his latest communication to Mann, Governor Purohit indicated he was upset over not getting any reply from him on his previous, and warned him that he could send a report to the President on “failure of constitutional mechanism.” Purohit advised Mann to act before he takes this “final decision” under Article 356 of the Constitution, and section 124 of the Indian Penal Code.

“I am pained to point out that there is reason to believe that there is failure of the constitutional machinery in the state .Before I am going to take final decision regarding sending a report to the President of India under Article 356 about the failure of the constitutional mechanism and take a decision about initiating criminal proceedings under Section 124 of the IPC, I ask you to send me the requisite information sought for under my letters, as also in the matter of the steps taken by you concerning the problem of drugs in the state, failing which I would have no choice but to take action according to law and the Constitution,” said Purohit in the fresh letter.

Sending a reminder after his August 1 letter, seeking answers to his questions, Governor Purohit said, “You have still not given the information sought by me. It appears that you are deliberately refusing to give the information asked for by me. I regret to note here that in spite of the clear provisions of Article 167 of the Constitution of India which makes it mandatory for the chief minister to furnish all such information relating to the administration of affairs of the state as the Governor may call for, you have failed to supply the information sought by me.”

Meanwhile AAP has accused the governor of violating decorum of his post and acting on behalf of BJP. “Constitutions empower elected representatives and AAP is not afraid of these politically motivated threats. With these threats to impose President’s Rule, BJP’s agenda has come to the governor’s lips. He is just a BJP spokesperson. I would like to tell the Governor that if they want to impose the President’s Rule, they should do that in Manipur, in Haryana. The Punjab government is working within the constitutional framework. The Governor has just one agenda – taking forward BJP’s agenda of disturbing the non-BJP State governments” said AAP official spokesperson Malwinder Kang while talking to IndiaNarrative.

The recent report by a parliamentary committee highlighted that around 20 percent of Punjab’s population was addicted to some kind of drug and the situation was most alarming.

Today Bhagwant Singh Mann rebutted the ‘threat’ issued by the Governor. “Our government has 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 while the Governor claims law and order in the state is not good”, he said. He alleged that while the Governor was threatening to impose President’s rule in the state his counterparts in Manipur and Haryana are observing silence on the law and order situation there.

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