Ambala, Thursday, March 26, 1970

Governor Tells Gurnam Singh to Resign

CHANDIGARH, March 25 — The 13 month-old Gurnam Singh Ministry was defeated today in the Punjab Assembly when the Appropriation Bill was rejected by the House by 44 votes to 22 on account of a rift in the Akali Dal over the Rajya Sabha biennial elections. Forty-four members — 35 Akalis, seven Jan Sanghites and two members of the CPI (M) — voted against the Bill, while 22 MLAs — 18 Akalis, one PSP, one Swatantra, one SSP (Mr. Roop Lal Sathi) and the rebel Akali, Mr. Kapur Singh — voted for it. The entire Congress Opposition (28), four members of the CPI, and one SSP member Mr. Balbir Singh did not cast their votes. It is learnt that the Punjab Governor, Dr. D.C. Pavate, tonight asked Mr. Gurnam Singh to submit his resignation at once because his Government had been defeated on the floor of the House. Within minutes of the Ministry’s defeat, a meeting of the Akali Legislature Party unanimously resolved to remove Mr. Gurnam Singh from the leadership of the party “for his treachery and working against the interests of the party.” He was also expelled from the membership of the party. Later, in the evening, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, Development Minister in the Gurnam Singh Government, was elected new leader of the Akali Legislature Party. After his election, Mr. Badal told newsmen that he would meet the Governor and apprise him of the developments. Meanwhile, the Congress (R) Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha told reporters here tonight that the Congress Legislature Party had decided to “extend its unconditional support” to the Chief Minister, Mr. Gurnam Singh. He said that he was making the announcement because the party had this evening authorised him to take the final decision in this regard. — OC

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