The issue of transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab has the city units of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at loggerheads. While the SAD has supported Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s view that Chandigarh should be transferred to Punjab, its alliance partner BJP has vehemently opposed the idea.
The status of Chandigarh has long been a contentious issue, with political parties in Punjab and Haryana demanding its merger in their state. The Chandigarh units, however, have generally maintained that the city should continue to be a union territory.
For the first time, the city unit of SAD has echoed the Punjab CM, who has stated that he would raise the issue of transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab with the Central government.
Explaining his stand, Jagjit Singh Kang, president of the city unit of SAD, said, “At present, the bureaucrats in Chandigarh have a standard reply for everything that a letter has been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Issues remain unresolved for years as no decision is taken. The city should be transferred to Punjab for the benefit of the residents.”
SAD councillor Harjinder Kaur, however, has a cautious approach. She said that the issue was not about transfer of a piece of land, but about the injustice meted out to Punjab. She added that Punjab had been a loser in several aspects.
Opposing the idea, city BJP president Sanjay Tandon stated that a decision about the future of Chandigarh should be taken only after taking people’s views into consideration.
“The people of Chandigarh want that the city should continue to remain a union territory. The need of the hour is to strengthen democratic processes here so that the voice of the people can be heard. At present, with the Punjab Governor being the UT Administrator, this is not happening,” he said.