A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the central service rules would apply to employees of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, on Monday criticized the Centre’s decision, saying it went against the Punjab Reorganization Act. Shah’s announcement also drew strong reactions from Congress and SAD leaders, with many saying it was “another blow to Punjab’s rights” after changes to the rules of the Bhakra Beas Board of Management (BBMB).
“The central government has gradually imposed officers and personnel from other states and services into the administration of Chandigarh. This is against the letter and spirit of the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966. Punjab will fight hard for its rightful claim to Chandigarh,” Mann said in a tweet.
The Aam Aadmi party said it would oppose the Center’s decision and fight the issue “from the streets to the parliament”.
Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema alleged that the BJP-led Center made anti-Punjab decisions. “The central government is deliberately taking steps to remove Punjab’s claims to Chandigarh,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Akali Dal urged the CM to convene a multi-party meeting with the aim of addressing the issue in a united manner.
central government “to stop its
efforts to make Chandigarh a permanent Union territory in violation of the Punjab Reorganization Act”.
“It is incumbent upon the AAP Government to impress upon the Center that Chandigarh is a Union Territory under an ad hoc arrangement only. We have nothing against Chandigarh employees whose interests can also be protected by the Punjab government. But we strongly protest against this latest move to pit employees against civil society and use them to wrest Punjab’s rights over Chandigarh,” the Akali Dal said in a statement.
Cheema said that since the AAP formed the government in Punjab, the BJP-led government in the Center feels scared due to several “pro-people” decisions taken by the Mann government and “has intensified its attacks on the rights of Punjab”. .
Cheema also alleged that previous Punjab governments failed to protect the rights and share of the state. The Finance Minister said the Center has now taken a unilateral decision regarding Union Territory employees and “did not consult with the Punjab actor… This is against the letter and spirit of the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966″. “We oppose this decision, we will protect the interests of Punjab and we will force the Center to back down,” he said.
Meanwhile, SAD boss and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal also objected to the Centre’s announcement. “The Center wants to usurp Punjab’s rights over Chandigarh,” Badal said.
Senior SAD leaders including Prem Singh Chandumajra noted that the Chief Minister “did not address the issue of the dilution of Punjab’s holdings in the management board of Bhakra Beas during his recent meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
“The Centre’s decision to extend the Central Civil Service rules to Chandigarh employees was not only a violation of the Punjab Reorganization Act, but also of the Rajiv Gandhi-Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal Agreement and several subsequent commissions, all of which ruled that Punjab had a majority in the administration of Chandigarh and that the status of the Union Territory was ad hoc pending transfer to Punjab,” Chandumajra said.
He also said that a party delegation would soon meet the president to update him on developments and demand that the Center’s decision be reversed.
Senior Congressman Pratap Singh Bajwa urged Mann to bring a cross-party delegation to address these issues with
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Multiple decisions taken by the Union government run counter to the federal structure of the Indian Constitution and require strong action by the Punjab government to uphold self-respect and the interests of the state. “, he said, urging the CM to consult the Advocate General. and explore all legal remedies available to the state.
Bajwa said the Center has changed the standards for selecting the full-time BBMB President and its members to
Irrigation and electricity stations. The two positions of irrigation and power as per conventional practice have always been filled by candidates from Haryana and Punjab respectively, he said.
Bajwa claimed that all these “unilateral decisions” from the Center could potentially damage the hard-won peace of every Punjabi.
Congress leaders Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Amarinder Singh Raja Warring also condemned the decision.