With supporters of the HSGMC and the SGPC on the brink of clashing outside a gurdwara in Kurukshetra, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal cancelled his Cabinet meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, and rushed to Delhi on Monday seeking the Centre’s ‘immediate intervention’ to defuse the crisis. Accompanied by Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral, the chief minister met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday after Home Minister Rajnath Singh suggested that Jaitley be consulted as the matter had ‘legal implications’.
Gujral, who had spoken to the home minister, said that he told Rajnath that the situation was tense and likely to go out of control. “The situation had deteriorated so much on Sunday that a clash was barely averted. The ground position has changed a lot from last week when the planned protest was called off following orders of the Akal Takht,” Gujral added. He further said that the union home secretary has been made aware of the situation. “A solution is expected very soon. We have been assured that matter is being sorted out. In case an immediate solution is not forthcoming, we will seek a meeting with the Prime Minister,” Gujral said.
Last week, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had reportedly ‘stared down’ Badal, ‘disapproving’ the latter’s plans to lead an agitation against the Haryana SGMC, from the Golden Temple during the World Sikh Conference on July 27. The conference was however called off at the last minute following a diktat from the Akal Takht. A similar diktat was issued to the Haryana SGPC which had also planned a conference in Haryana on July 28.
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The home minister, it is learnt, has assured the Punjab chief minister that the matter will be sorted out at the earliest. However
there has been no move by either the Centre or the Haryana governor to resolve the matter in Punjab’s favour, even after the passage of ten days.
Gujral said the attorney general had upheld the Punjab government’s stand and that there should be no legal problem in undoing Haryana’s move. “The only solution possible is a Constitutional one. The Centre has agreed that the Constitution has been violated by Haryana with the attorney general endorsing this view,” Gujral said.
Sources said the aim of Badal’s meeting was to push the home ministry to find a solution through Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, who is an NDA appointee. Various appeals and warnings to the Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, from his Punjab counterpart, have not had any effect on Hooda, who is solidly backing the move for the creation of the separate SGPC.