‘Chandigarh is a part of Punjab’

The recent controversy between Punjab Governor-cum-Chandigarh Administrator Gen S F Rodrigues (Retd) and Advisor Pradip Mehra has led to a demand for the revival of the post of chief commissioner by a politically motivated group.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: January 20, 2009 12:33 am

The recent controversy between Punjab Governor-cum-Chandigarh Administrator Gen S F Rodrigues (Retd) and Advisor Pradip Mehra has led to a demand for the revival of the post of chief commissioner by a politically motivated group. Instead of creating the post of chief commissioner which was abolished in 1984,I believe that Chandigarh should be restored back to its parent state,Punjab.

I have sent a representation to both Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to press for the transfer and maintain a special status for the UT regarding the grant,which it receives from the Centre for its development and upkeep.

I have also suggested that Greater Mohali,which lies in Punjab be merged with Chandigarh. The Lok Sabha seat of Chandigarh should also be retained and new Vidhan Sabha constituencies should be carved out,after its transfer.

In this way,the present issues which are arising due to the “dictatorship” of top bureaucrats will end.

These self-seeking political enthusiasts,who are otherwise seeking more powers for the bureaucracy,are totally ignorant of the historical compulsions that led to the creation of Chandigarh and seem to be totally oblivious of the sacrifices made by the people of Punjab for the restoration of Chandigarh to its parent state.

Indira Gandhi made a promise in 1971-72 that Chandigarh would be given to Punjab in lieu of Fazilka-Abohar,while the Hindi-speaking areas of Punjab would be transferred to Haryana. Even on the eve of Operation Blue Star,Indira Gandhi,in her broadcast to the nation on June 2,1984,made an appeal for withdrawal of the Sikh agitation,reassuring that she had already given Chandigarh to Punjab. The military operation in Amritsar,however,gave rise to new problems and altered the entire situation,not only in Punjab but across the nation.

Her successor and son,Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi,with the help of the then Punjab Governor Arjun Singh also tried to settle the Punjab tangle with all sincerity. He struck a historic agreement,the Punjab Accord,on July 24,1985,with popular Sikh leader Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

In pursuance of this clause in the Punjab Accord,Rajiv Gandhi declared that Chandigarh would be transferred to Punjab on January 26,1986,but he backed out at the last moment and all the preparations that had been made for the merger came to a naught.

Presumably,Rajiv Gandhi felt excessively threatened by a demonstration to the Parliament led by Chaudhary Devi Lal.

Chandigarh belongs to the state of Punjab and its people linguistically,socio-economically,legally,culturally,historically and politically.

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