There is now a third claimant to Chandigarh apart from Punjab and Haryana. And this time, it’s Chandigarh itself.
After Punjab and Haryana staked claim over the union territory through special assembly sessions, it is now the Chandigarh civic body’s turn to call a special house meeting to pass a resolution seeking retention of UT status and its own vidhan sabha. To that effect, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has called a special house meeting on April 7.
Chandigarh mayor Sarabjit Kaur Dhillon confirmed the news and told News18, “We have asked all 35 councillors in the civic body to seek opinion from their respective wards and, on April 7, a special house meeting has been called where a resolution will be moved to express sentiments that Chandigarh should remain a UT with a vidhan sabha.”
Echoing Dhillon’s sentiments, Chandigarh BJP president Arun Sood said, “We support the special house meeting that is expected to pass a resolution. We also want to thank home minister Amit Shah for including Chandigarh employees under central service rules, and also for the projects worth Rs 600 crore inaugurated in the city.”
Sood, a former city mayor, said the two states had called special sessions with their claim over Chandigarh, but UT residents were not being heard in any way.
“We want Chandigarh to continue as a UT. It should also have its own Vidhan Sabha,” he added.
Punjab and Haryana are suddenly locked into a battle over Chandigarh. The Haryana government, too, on Tuesday passed a unanimous resolution, noting with concern the resolution recently passed by the Punjab assembly staking claim over the UT.
Like in Punjab, in Haryana, too, the ruling and opposition parties have come together to support the resolution. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has raised concerns over the Aam Aadmi Party-led Punjab government’s sudden move to stake a claim on the joint capital. He has also said before moving such a resolution, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann should have taken all stakeholders in the matter into confidence.
This is not the first time Punjab has staked a claim over Chandigarh. Such resolutions have been passed at least seven times in the past, mostly by Akali Dal-led governments. But, a latest move by the ministry of home affairs to announce central service rules for UT employees has once again renewed Punjab’s resentment over its dwindling share in the UT administration.
Mann immediately moved to pass a resolution, urging the Centre to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab, soon after union home minister Amit Shah announced that central service rules will apply to UT employees. Earlier, UT employees were governed by the service rules of Punjab. Shah’s announcement had led to a political row, when he said the change in service rules will benefit UT administration employees in a “big way”.
With inputs from News18