Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh:
Punjab’s chief minister moved a resolution in the Assembly, seeking the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.
The long-standing dispute between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh flared up after the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in Chandigarh instead of the Punjab Service Rules.
How did Chandigarh become the capital of Punjab?
- After Partition, Shimla was made the temporary capital of Indian Punjab. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted a modern city to replace Lahore as Punjab’s capital, and the idea of Chandigarh was conceived.
- In 1953, the capital was officially moved from Shimla to Chandigarh.
When was Punjab reorganized and Chandigarh became a Union Territory?
- The Punjab Reorganization Act of 1966 carved out the new state of Haryana from undivided Punjab, created the new Union Territory of Chandigarh under the direct control of the Centre, and transferred the hill territories of Punjab to Himachal Pradesh.
- Chandigarh was identified as the capital of Punjab but it became the common capital of both Punjab and Haryana, and properties were divided between the states in the ratio of 60:40.
Chandigarh Issue in Punjab and Haryana
- Since 1966, the lack of full rights to its capital has remained a major issue in Punjab politics.
- It has featured in all major developments, whether it is the 1973 Anandpur Sahib resolution, Dharam Yudh Morcha (of Akali Dal with J.S. Bhindranwale) and the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal Accord.
- On the other hand, in Haryana, all parties present a common position asserting their claim to the city and have objected to any move which associates Chandigarh solely with Punjab.
What has been the Central Government’s stand on Punjab?
- At the time of the 1966 Act, the Union government with Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister indicated that the UT status to Chandigarh was temporary and that it would be transferred to Punjab.
- According to the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal Accord, Chandigarh was to be handed over to Punjab on January 26, 1986, but this was never fructified after the assassination of Longowal and the long period of militancy till the mid-1990s.
- However, recently, the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in the Union Territory instead of the Punjab Service Rules. This development could indicate a shift in the Central government’s position.
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