Centre drops plan for separate administrator for Chandigarh UT

Centre drops plan for separate administrator for Chandigarh UT

Centre drops plan for separate administrator for Chandigarh UT

The Centre dropped a plan to appoint a separate administrator for Chandigarh UT after a strong protest from Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, patron of BJP ally SAD.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s office on Thursday announced that V P Singh Badnore, the newly appointed Governor of Punjab, will also be the administrator for the city, which is a Union Territory and also the capital of Punjab and Haryana.

On Wednesday, the Modi government had thought differently. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had indicated at appointing former IAS official K J Alphons Kannanthanam for the post.

Consequently, while appointing Badnore as the Governor of Punjab, the Centre decided to decouple from him the role of the administrator of the Chandigarh UT, as the first announcement from the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday showed.

This was seen as a departure from a practice that has been in place since mid-1980s and as a new experiment in good governance.

But Badal conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the home minister that his party opposed any plans for a separate Chandigarh Administrator as that could deal a blow to his party’s prospects in the Assembly polls early next year. This was after the Congress and the Aam Admi Party accused the Akali Dal of failing to protect Punjab’s interests.

Punjab’s long-pending demand is that Chandigarh should be made the permanent capital of the state and not shared with Haryana. Congress chief ministerial candidate Amarinder Singh said the Centre’s “blatantly unjust move was aimed at snatching Chandigarh from Punjab”.

A rattled Badal said the Centre’s move “violates the basis under which the arrangement was originally made, which was that Chandigarh belongs to Punjab and has to be transferred to it”.

After getting an assurance from the Centre, Badal said: “Let no one try to create any confusion on Chandigarh in the minds of people of Punjab or elsewhere… Punjab will never allow its legitimate right over the capital and other Punjabi speaking areas to be compromised or diluted.”

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