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The Hindu
The Hindu
Vikas Vasudeva

Punjab assembly passes resolution; asks Centre to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab

The Punjab State Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a resolution to immediately transfer union territory of Chandigarh — the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, to Punjab.

Reacting sharply, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal said that Chandigarh is and will remain the capital of Haryana and Punjab. “Both the states have several other issues to talk about apart from Chandigarh,” he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann moved the resolution in the special session of the State assembly, urging the Central government to honour the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution and not to take any step which may disturb the balance in the administration of Chandigarh, adding that through many of its recent actions, the Central government has been trying to upset this balance.

Apart from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), MLAs of all political parties, including the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supported the resolution. BJP MLA Ashwani Sharma opposed the resolution while taking part in the deliberations on the resolution and subsequently walked out from the assembly in protest.

Mr. Mann said his government would exploit all channels by seeking prior appointment from Centre to call on the Prime Minister and Home Minister to mount pressure on Union government in order to take their fight for legitimate rights of Punjab to its logical end.

Hitting out at the BJP-led Central government, Mr. Mann said that its leadership was bent upon to indulge in vendetta politics in general and especially in states like Punjab, Delhi, and West Bengal where its leadership has miserably failed to get people’s mandate for formation of its government.

The resolution read “Punjab was reorganised through the Punjab Reorganisation Act. 1966, wherein, the State of Punjab was reorganised into the State of Haryana, Union Territory of Chandigarh and some parts of Punjab were given to the then Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh. Since then, a balance was maintained in the administration of common assets like Bhakra Beas Management Board, by way of giving management positions in some proportion to the nominees of State of Punjab and State of Haryana. Through many of its recent actions, the Central government has been trying to upset this balance. Most recently, the Central Government has advertised the posts of members of Bhakra Beas Management Board to officers of all States and Central Government, whereas these posts were traditionally filled up by the officers from Punjab and Haryana. Similarly, Chandigarh Administration has always been managed by the officers of Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 60:40. However, recently Central Government has posted outside officers to Chandigarh and has introduced Central Civil Service Rules for the employees of Chandigarh Administration, which goes completely against the understanding in the past. Chandigarh city was created as the Capital of Punjab. In all past precedents, whenever, a state has been divided, the capital remains with the parent state. Punjab therefore, has been laying its claim for complete transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.”

“In the past, this House has passed a number of resolutions urging Central government to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab. For maintaining harmony and taking the sentiments of people into account, this House once again recommends to the State government to raise the matter with Central government to immediately transfer Chandigarh to Punjab. This House also requests the Central government to honor the principles of federalism enshrined in our Constitution and not to take any steps which may disturb the balance in the administration of Chandigarh and that of other common assets like B.B.M.B,” added the resolution.

Haryana Chief Minister said that while considering the demand and interest of the employees working in Chandigarh, the Central government has recently taken the decision to implement Central Service Rules, and alleged that the Punjab government is misleading the public on this issue.

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said the resolution reflects the ‘anti-Haryana’ thinking of the Aam Aadmi Party. “Chandigarh belongs to Haryana and Haryana has full right over Chandigarh,” she said.

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