Veteran BJP leader Kaptan Singh Solanki, who will take oath as Haryana governor on Sunday, said that in his view the state should adhere to Centre’s directives.
He was speaking in context of the formation of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) under a law passed by the state assembly. The Union home ministry has requested the governor to withdraw his assent to the HSGMC legislation after protest by Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal that controls the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
As Solanki’s predecessor Jagannath Pahadia had given the assent, all eyes are now on the new incumbent. However, stressing on the “consensus route”, Solanki was careful to dispel speculation of President’s rule in Haryana to deal with the situation. “It (President’s rule) is not at all an option,” he told HT.
“Judiciary is the ultimate arbitrator of what is, or is not, according to the law. We can seek opinion of judiciary by sending a Presidential reference. A high-powered committee can be formed to look into all aspects. Once I take oath, I will discuss all these options with the chief minister.”
He added, “I will hit the ground the running. My priority would be to take everyone along to find an early, amicable solution to the dispute between the Centre and the states of Haryana and Punjab,” Solanki added.
After Pahadia’s assent to the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Bill, the state’s Congress government even put in place an ad hoc panel that elected its executive body on Saturday. Strongly objecting to Haryana’s act, the SADled Punjab government had knocked the doors of the BJPled NDA regime at the Centre — of which it is a constituent — and sought intervention saying that a separate panel was in contravention of the Gurdwaras Act of 1925. The Centre asked the governor to withdraw assent, but the state in turn asked it to “forthwith withdraw” the letter to this effect. The Haryana government has cited the Punjab Reorganisation Act of 1966 to stress that it has the right to form a separate panel.
CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda also met Solanki earlier in the day; but the newly appointed governor said it was only a courtesy call.