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To Counter Punjab On Chandigarh: Haryana set to rake up SYL issue, transfer of Hindi-speaking areas

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha, during a special one day session on Friday passed a resolution reiterating its claim on Chandigarh and demanding that it be transferred immediately to the Aam Aadmi Party-governed state.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
April 4, 2022 11:34:19 pm
Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja (File)

The row over Chandigarh is set to escalate further with Haryana, which has called a special Vidhan Sabha session Tuesday to counter Punjab’s claim over the Union Territory, also likely to take up and move resolutions on other contentious issues between the two states including implementation of Supreme Court’s verdict on SYL Canal and transfer of Hindi speaking areas.

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha, during a special one day session on Friday passed a resolution reiterating its claim on Chandigarh and demanding that it be transferred immediately to the Aam Aadmi Party-governed state.

Chandigarh is the common capital of Punjab and Haryana.

The political parties in Haryana had earlier rejected the Punjab resolution. Later the BJP-JJP alliance government summoned a special session of the Assembly on Tuesday primarily to condemn the Bhagwant Mann-led dispensation in Punjab for bringing the resolution seeking the transfer of Chandigarh. On Sunday, Haryana Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma had said that “several issues will be taken up in the special session”.

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On Monday, Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja said the issues of Chandigarh, the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal and the transfer of the Hindi-speaking villages from Punjab to Haryana are “inter-linked”.

Asked about the Hindi speaking areas that Haryana wants transferred out of Punjab, a senior officer of Haryana government told The Indian Express that then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then Shiromani Akali Dal president Harchand Singh Longowal on July 24, 1985 had signed an accord — known as Rajiv-Longowal accord — that attempted to decide various contentious issues. “A decision was taken to settle the territorial claims and it was decided that Chandigarh would be given to Punjab overruling the Shah Commission’s suggestion that it should be given to Haryana. In lieu of Chandigarh, it was decided, the Hindi speaking villages of Punjab would be given to Haryana. In 1986, a Commission was constituted to determine which all areas would go to Haryana,” the officer said.

The officer further said: “Approximately 70,000 hectare land was identified, primarily in Abohar and Fazilka. But, there was a condition that it should be contiguous. Later, Punjab government refused to acknowledge the transfer of such a large portion of its land and said that it was not possible to identify the contiguity of Hindi speaking areas since there were several villages that were purely Punjabi speaking. Subsequently, the union government withdrew that move and it never saw light of the day”.

On the SYL issue, another senior officer said that the matter had reached Supreme Court, which passed its verdict in 2016. “It was followed by protests and political repercussions in Punjab and Haryana. A large portion of the canal was damaged in Punjab. Various resolutions were also passed in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, not to let any water flow through this canal into Haryana. The Supreme Court too had cautioned both the states not to indulge in any violence and rather endorse Centre’s efforts to resolve the crisis. But, it has not happened till date,” the officer said.

While BJP-JJP alliance is expected to lead the special House session by squarely blaming AAP and condemning its move, the Congress, which is likely to support the move, would also be taking on the BJP for not being able to get Supreme Court’s verdict implemented despite being in power both at the Centre and in Haryana.

The ruling alliance in Haryana would also like to use the opportunity to counter AAP, which is making inroads in the state, preparing to give a tough fight to the existing mainstream political parties in 2024 Assembly polls.

The Haryana Congress, on its part, passed several resolutions Tuesday including one that condemned the move by the AAP government and asking party supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to clarify his stand on the issues of the SYL canal water and Hindi speaking areas.

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