Manish Tewari’s promise to make Chandigarh ‘city-state’ triggers row : The Tribune India

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Manish Tewari’s promise to make Chandigarh ‘city-state’ triggers row

Manish Tewari’s promise to make Chandigarh ‘city-state’ triggers row


Tribune News Service

Jupinderjit singh

Chandigarh, May 20

A controversy has erupted over the Vision Document of Manish Tewari, the joint candidate of the Congress and AAP, about Chandigarh. He has promised to change the antiquated governance model and have a ‘city-state’ model.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP have termed it a conspiracy to take away the rights of Punjab over its capital. The issue is emotive for Punjabis which have been demanding the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.

“Chandigarh belongs to Punjab, matter non-negotiable,” said Punjab BJP president Sunil Jakhar today, making it clear that Chandigarh belonged to Punjab and the state’s claim on the city was non-negotiable and indisputable.

Tewari’s manifesto reads: “It is time for Chandigarh to become a city-state. The three existing, antiquated models of governance of the city, which are plagued by the multiplicity of the authority and complicated web of laws, will be consolidated into simplified and people-friendly laws supported by the legal architecture to address the whole range of issues concerning the city.”

The state BJP chief, reacting to the manifesto of Tewari, said, “There is no cohesion in the Congress in policy and decision-making. The Congress has outsourced its policies to those who are bereft of the ground realities in Punjab,” Jakhar said. The Congress’ attempt to separate Chandigarh from Punjab would be met with every possible resistance from the BJP, he said.

“The Punjab Congress should clear its stand on this issue. Why just the Congress, even AAP and Bhagwant Mann should speak on this issue. The two parties cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds,” Jakhar said.

Lambasting Mann, the state BJP chief said even Mann had diluted Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh when he talked about building a separate Vidhan Sabha of Punjab. “Both parties have a varying stance. They are fighting as an alliance in Chandigarh. AAP should forthwith withdraw its support to Tewari to come clean on the issue, or else it will become clear that AAP wants to forfeit Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh,” he added.

SAD president Sukhbir Badal said the Congress-AAP joint manifesto for the UT had unmasked their anti-Punjab face as they had surrendered Punjab’s right over Chandigarh. Terming this the greatest betrayal ever by both, he said, “The Vision Document released by Tewari has made it clear that the INDIA bloc stands for making Chandigarh a separate state like Delhi.”

‘Was Supposed to be UT for only 5 years’

Chandigarh was supposed to be the UT for only five years from January 1, 1966, to March 31, 1971. There are other UTs, which have become city-state now. The time has come to make Chandigarh a city-state and give it a self-governed architecture, which is essentially to have either a CM or a chief executive councillor. The Municipal Corporation needs to be upgraded either to legislative assembly or to an executive council. — Manish Tewari, Congress candidate

Cong must clear its stand

The Punjab Congress should clear its stand on this issue. Why just the Congress, even AAP and Bhagwant Mann should speak on this issue. The two parties cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. — Sunil Jakhar, Punjab BJP president

(With inputs from Sandeep Rana)

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