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Punjab Assembly passes resolution seeking Chandigarh’s immediate transfer to Punjab

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The resolution was passed during the one-day special session of the Assembly, called amid outrage over the implementation of central services rules in Chandigarh, in the absence of the two BJP legislators, who had earlier staged a walkout.

The Punjab Assembly today passed a resolution seeking the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to the state. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who presented a resolution against the implementation of central service rules in Chandigarh, accused the Centre of trying to upset the balance in the administration of the Union Territory and other common assets.

The resolution was passed during the one-day special session of the Assembly, called amid outrage over Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement that central service rules would apply to the employees of Chandigarh administration, in the absence of the two BJP legislators, who had earlier staged a walkout.

The members of all other political parties, including the Congress, the Shrimani Akali Dal and the BSP, which has one MLA in the Assembly, threw their support behind the resolution and called the Centre’s recent move “dictatorial and autocratic”.

In the coming days, the Punjab government will seek time from President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the issue and assured the House that Punjab’s side will be presented strongly before them, Bhagwant Mann said, reported news agency PTI. He urged all parties to come together in protecting the interests of Punjab.

Bhagwant Mann also said that the House has, in the past too, passed a number of resolutions urging the central government to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab.

I want to give a guarantee to the people of Punjab that we will strongly fight and protect the state’s rights, be it in the Vidhan Sabha or Parliament or on any other platform,” Mann asserted.

“Punjab was reorganised through the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 wherein, the state of Punjab was reorganised into the state of Haryana, the Union Territory of Chandigarh and some parts of Punjab were given to the then Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh,” the resolution stated.

“Since then, a balance has been maintained in the administration of common assets like the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), by way of giving management positions in some proportion to nominees of the states of Punjab and Haryana. Through many of its recent actions, the Centre has been trying to upset this balance,” it said.

The Centre has advertised the posts of members of BBMB to officers of all states and central government, while these posts were traditionally filled by officers from Punjab and Haryana. The Chandigarh administration has always been managed by officers of Punjab and Haryana at the ratio of 60:40, the resolution said.

“However, recently the central government has posted officers from outside to Chandigarh and has introduced central civil service rules for employees of Chandigarh administration, which goes completely against the understanding in the past,” the resolution pointed out.

Senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa urged Bhagwant Mann to consult the Punjab Advocate General and explore all legal remedies available to the state in this “extremely important matter”. He also requested the state to take up the issue with PM Modi and Amit Shah.

Punjab Finance Minister and AAP leader Harpal Cheema accused the successive Congress governments in the state of neglecting the state’s interests, prompting Congress MLAs to protest. Independent MLA Rana Inder Singh was named by the Speaker and sent out for interrupting the CM’s speech.

Congress MLA Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa assured support to the Bhagwant Mann-led government on the issue.

“The People of Punjab gave you (AAP) a massive mandate. You have to take this fight forward. We are all with you. Whatever is needed to protect Punjab’s interests, we are with you,” he said.

Akali Dal MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali also rallied behind the government over the issue.

Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira described the Centre’s recent move as “absolutely erroneous, unilateral, dictatorial, undemocratic and unconstitutional.”

Opposing the resolution, BJP MLA Ashwani Sharma said no rules of the Punjab Reorganisation Act were violated. He walked out of the House with another BJP MLA, Jangi Lal Mahajan.

Later speaking to the media, Sharma said: “There should have been a fact-based discussion. Whether one spoke in favor or in opposition, no one should have been stopped. It has become Punjab’s tradition – start fighting with the Center to hide its own failures. Today’s special session was called today to mislead people.”

“Our stand is clear regarding Chandigarh. Punjab has the right over Chandigarh. But this right is not reduced by the implementation of service rules,” he asserted.

Accusing the AAP of using the issue to gain political mileage, Sharma said: “The attitude of the government in the house was not good. PM Modi has taken most of the decisions in the interest of Punjab. The state government is baking its political bread by misleading the public

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