Political parties in Punjab hit out at the central government after Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the Chandigarh administration employee’s service conditions will be aligned to that of the central civil services.
AAP, the ruling party in Punjab and opposition parties including the Congress and Akali Dal alleged that the centre’s move dilutes Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh and is against the spirit of federalism.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia taking a dig at the BJP said it is scared of the “rising footprints” of the AAP. Sisodia said Shah did not take away Chandigarh powers when the Congress was ruling in Punjab. But soon after the AAP formed its government in Punjab, the home minister announced the move as “the BJP is scared of rising footprints” of the AAP, he said.
From 2017 to 2022 Congress ruled Punjab.Amit Shah didn’t take away Chandigarh powers then.
As soon as AAP formed Govt in Punjab, Amit Shah took away Chandigarh’s services.
BJP is scared of AAP rising footprint. https://t.co/8Dnex4rcWG
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) March 27, 2022
Earlier in Chandigarh, Amit Shah said that the service conditions of employees of the Chandigarh Union Territory administration will now be aligned to that of the central civil services and this will benefit them in a “big way”.
Shah announced that the retirement age of employees in the Union Territory will now go up from 58 to 60 years and added that women employees will now get child care leave of two years from the current one year.
AAP had earlier also accused the centre of attempting to control the bureaucrats in Delhi, where it is in power. The matter is pending in the Supreme court.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema called the move a violation of the spirit of the Punjab Reorganisation Act and denial of the right of capital to the state.
“MOH’s (Ministry of Home Affairs) decision to impose central government rules on employees of Chandigarh is in violation of the spirit of the Punjab Reorg (Reorganisation) Act and must be reconsidered,” Daljit Singh Cheema said.
MOH’s decision to impose central govt rules on employees of Chandigarh is in violation of the spirit of Punjab Reorg act and must be reconsidered. This means denial of right of Capital to Punjab for ever. After changes in BBMB, this is another big blow to the rights of Punjab.— Dr Daljit S Cheema (@drcheemasad) March 27, 2022
“This means denial of right of Capital to Punjab for ever. After changes in the BBMB (Bhakra Beas Management Board) rules, this is another big blow to the rights of Punjab,” he added in another tweet.
“Chandigarh is Punjab (common) capital and adhoc arrangement of UT was made. Sixty per cent employees are of Punjab and the rest of Haryana… at the time of reorganisation, it was agreed that Punjab government rules would be applicable on employees of the UT. This decision of the Centre is dictatorial and has been taken without consulting the state of Punjab,” Cheema later told the media. “Today’s decision is a conspiracy to dilute Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh. We oppose it,” he said, adding “the decision is against the spirit of federalism”.
Congress also condemned the centre’s move and called it a direct attack on federalism. “We strongly condemn dictatorial decision of BJP to usurp upon the rights of Punjab over control of Chandigarh. It belongs to Punjab and this unilateral decision is not only a direct attack on federalism but also attack on Punjab’s share of 60 per cent control over UT,” Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
Khaira also said, “I wish to remind BJP, Chandigarh is a disputed territory with Punjab’s claim justified by Rajiv-Longowal Accord… It’s a deceit and cheating by non less than a government”. Shah also touched upon the work done by the Centre in the last seven years to strengthen the country’s internal security and said that under the BJP-led government, Naxal and terror incidents have come down drastically.
However, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said that Amit Shah spoke only about Chandigarh UT employees getting central benefits and added that it doesn’t affect Punjab’s power in any way.
With inputs from News18