The opposition Congress on Monday tried to steal the thunder of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal after he claimed to have scuttled the Narendra Modi government’s move to appoint a separate administrator for Chandigarh.
Punjab Congress spokesman Sunil Jakhar produced copies of unstarrred question asked by SAD MP Sher Singh Ghubaya in the Lok Sabha in 2015 seeking reply from the ministry of home affairs on a “new capital” for Punjab. The ministry, in its reply dated May 5, 2015, said: “As per Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, a common capital was created after reaching a consensus with state governments of Punjab and Haryana. At present, the Union government has no proposal to establish a new capital. The state government is the competent authority to take such a decision.”
Accusing Badal of doublespeak, Jakhar said Gubaya’s question revealed the mindset of the SAD. “The Modi government could not have appointed a separate administrator for Chandigarh out of the blue. The question exposes that the Akalis want to surrender their claim on Chandigarh. They tried a soft launch of the idea of a new capital through Gubaya. There are many land sharks in the ruling party waiting for such a move to reap profits,” he added.
What he said
The capital of Punjab is located at the far end of the state creating problems for the people. Does the government have any proposal to establish a new capital or mini-capital at a central place of Punjab to ameliorate the suffering of Punjabis?” —Ghubaya’s unstarred question in Lok Sabha in 2015