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Chandigarh municipal body passes resolution to maintain city's union territory status

Both Punjab and Haryana state assemblies recently passed their respective resolution reiterating their claim over the Union Territory
A picturesque view of Chandigarh
A picturesque view of Chandigarh

Our Bureau, PTI   |   Chandigarh   |   Published 07.04.22, 06:52 PM

The municipal corporation here on Tuesday passed a resolution, which states that Chandigarh should remain a union territory and get its own legislative assembly. The MC resolution also demanded that the Centre intervene and direct the Haryana and Punjab governments "to develop their own independent capital cities".

The development comes as Punjab and Haryana staked claim over Chandigarh. Both Punjab and Haryana state assemblies passed resolutions reiterating their claim over the Union Territory, their joint capital. Only BJP councillors were present in the MC House when the resolution was passed, with those of the Aam Aadmi Party, Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal staging a walkout. Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Mayor Sarabjit Kaur, who is from the BJP, had called a special meeting of the General House of the municipal corporation.

"Keeping in view sentiments of the residents of Chandigarh, its status of Union Territory should be maintained," the MC resolution said. "State legislative assembly should be constituted in Chandigarh so as to enable the residents to decide about the policies and future of the city themselves," according to the resolution read out by BJP councilor Maheshinder Singh Sidhu in the House.

The House also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for implementing central service rules in the city, thus "benefiting" its employees. BJP councillor Harpreet Kaur Babla said Chandigarh belongs to the people of Chandigarh. "It is not a political agenda. It is the voice of the people of Chandigarh," she said.

Referring to Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann's statement of transferring Chandigarh to the state, Babla asked if ever Punjab provided any assistance in any way to Chandigarh. "Do we want drug mafia and gangsters in Chandigarh like in Punjab," she asked.

"Our sentiments are attached to the cit. Till my last breath, we will not let Chandigarh be transferred to Punjab," said Babla. AAP councillor Prem Lata objected to naming Mann and referring to crime related incidents in Punjab by Babla in the House.

Ruckus followed in the House after AAP and BJP councillors reached the Well of the House. Babla asked protesting councillors to clear their stand on the Chandigarh issue. Aam Aadmi Party MC councillors raked up the issue of recent water tariff hike to take on the BJP in the House.

BJP councillors flashed posters mentioning "Chandigarh neither belongs to Bhagwant Mann, nor to Arvind Kejriwal, Chandigarh belongs to the people of Chandigarh". "Chandigarh is UT and will remain so," read one of the posters.

AAP councillors demanded a discussion on water tariff hike but the Mayor pointed out that the special meeting of the general house of the MC was called to discuss the issue of Chandigarh status. Senior Deputy Mayor Dalip Sharma told AAP leaders that they became the MC councillors because the people of Chandigarh voted for them, not people of Punjab. He further claimed that the development in Chandigarh was carried out with the funds provided by the Centre with neither Punjab nor Haryana providing a single penny to the City Beautiful.

AAP councillor Yogesh Dhingra questioned the BJP's move of bringing the resolution, asking whether the MC House has the jurisdiction to discuss the Chandigarh issue. It is the Centre which is to decide on this matter, he pointed out.

Congress councillor Gurpreet Singh raised the issues of water tariff hike and ensuring enough jobs for the people of Chandigarh. AAP councillors objected to the names of Mann and Kejriwal mentioned in the posters flashed by the BJP councillors. Then, some AAP councillors wrote the name of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on a few of posters. The AAP councillors staged a walkout for not discussing the hike in water tariff while Congress members did the same for not discussing other important issues of the city. The lone SAD councilor Hardeep Singh also walked out, saying he was not being allowed to speak.

BJP councillor Maheshinder Singh Sidhu while pointing towards the walkout said they showed their back to the people of Chandigarh. In the House of 35, the BJP has 13 councillors, AAP 14, Congress seven and the Shiromani Akali Dal one. During his visit to Chandigarh last month, Home Minister Shah had announced the implementation of central services rules in the city, replacing Punjab service rules, a move that triggered a political row. Punjab had on April 1 called a one-day special session of the state assembly where a resolution seeking immediate transfer of Chandigarh to the state was adopted.

Four days later, the Haryana Assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre not to take any steps that would disturb the existing balance and to maintain harmony till all issues emanating from the reorganisation of Punjab are settled. The Haryana assembly also denounced the neighbouring state for staking claim over Chandigarh.

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