For once, Punjab MLAs from AAP, Congress and SAD come together against Centre's claim on Chandigarh, BJP walks out

'Chandigarh was created as capital of Punjab', Bhagwant Mann attacks Centre, saying 'don't disturb the balance'

Tribune News Service

Ruchika M. Khanna

Chandigarh, April 1

Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Friday passed a resolution to immediately transfer Chandigarh to Punjab.

Since the BJP MLAs had walked out of the House before voting, all other MLAs unanimously passed the resolution.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said he would seek time from the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister to take up the issue. MLAs from the Congress, SAD and the lone BSP candidate supported the resolution and asked Mann to take an all-party delegation to meet Central government leaders on this issue.

The resolution comes days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced that the central service rules will be applicable to all employees of Chandigarh, which has been viewed by the political spectrum as an attempt to usurp Punjab’s rights over Chandigarh.

During the ongoing debate, MLAs from AAP, Congress and SAD expressed fear that after this “attack” by BJP-led centre, they apprehended that next attack would be on the waters of Punjab and the state’s riparian rights will be violated.

The one-day Special Assembly session, that moved the Resolution, requested the Central Government to honour the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution and not to take any steps which may disturb the balance in the Administration of Chandigarh and that of other common assets like the BBMB.

BJP opposes the official resolution. Ashwani Sharma, amidst a chorus of MLAs shaming him for the stand, said that central service rules were in force in Punjab from 1966-85 and pay commission of Center was also in force here. Pay commission was from 1986-1991.

The two BJP MLAs walk out of the House after Speaker asked Sharma to speak briefly. The other MLA who walked out was Jangi Lal.

Moving the Resolution, Mann said Punjab was reorganised through Punjab Reorganisation Act,1966, wherein, the State of Punjab was reorganised into 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.

It further stated that 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, the Chandigarh Administration has always been managed by the officers of Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 60:40. However, recently the 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 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,” he said.

#bhagwant mann #Chandigarh #punjabvidhansabha

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