Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Thursday condemned attempts by the Union government to back out from solemn guarantees given to Punjab by the nation vis-a-vis the status of Chandigarh and demanded it be transferred to the state on priority.
In a statement here, he also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rein in his ministers who were spreading discord with provocative statements.
Badal said Punjab was a border state and Punjabis’ sentiments were attached with the issue of status of Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas left out from the state.
“Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhwat not only threw caution to the winds while speaking out on these sensitive subjects but has also tried to change the established position of the nation vis-a-vis the status of Chandigarh. I request him not to make such controversial statements emphasising Rajasthan’s right over the BBMB as they will be taken as conflict of interest since he is from Rajasthan and in-charge of the Punjab BJP unit.”
Taking umbrage at the Union Minister’s new plan on how the future of Chandigarh would be decided, Badal said: “It is not in the ambit of Shekhawat to take a decision on this matter. This is a closed chapter. The UT status of Chandigarh is purely temporary pending transfer to Punjab.”
He said Punjab was the only state in the country which did not get to retain its capital after reorganisation. “We were assured that Chandigarh will be transferred to us and this was further ratified by a government of India proclamation in 1970 that Chandigarh will be transferred to Punjab.”
He said this was followed by the Rajiv-Longowal accord which gave Chandigarh to Punjab and was ratified by both Houses of Parliament.
Badal also expressed shock at Shekhawat’s announcement that Rajasthan had an equal right over the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB). He said this statement was completely illogical and without any merit.