It’s official now. Chandigarh will not have its own administrator, and the charge will be with the new Punjab governor, BJP veteran VP Singh Badnore, who will take oath on August 22. With this, the reported move of the central government to appoint Kerala BJP leader and retired bureaucrat KJ Alphons as the UT’s administrator has been aborted.
That move would have changed a 32-year-old system of the governor being the boss of the UT, joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. The BJP-led Centre’s u-turn came after political parties, including key ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) with which it is in power in Punjab, decried that.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had approached Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday asking him to review the decision to appoint Alphons as it was seen as weakening the poll-bound state’s claim over Chandigarh. Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had also resented the move.
Alphons, meanwhile, expressed disappointmen t at the turn of events, which culminated with the President issuing a communique appointing Badnore as UT administrator too.
Badnore, a former MP who hails from Rajasthan, will take over from Kaptan Singh Solanki, the Haryana governor who has additional charge of Punjab and the UT. The swearing-in will be held at 4pm, Monday, at Punjab Raj Bhawan, where Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice SJ Vazifdar will administer the oath.
Looking forward to ‘very interesting’ assignment
Badnore told HT on Thursday that he is looking forward to “this new, exciting and very interesting assignment”. He said over the phone, “I have lots of regard for the brave and hard-working people of Punjab. Yes, most probably, I will take oath next week on Monday.”
Describing the border state as a land of warriors and freedom fighters, Badnore, who hails from the erstwhile royal family of Badnore in Bhilwara, added: “The green revolution became a reality because of the people of Punjab... [who] have huge potential.”
Before getting this gubernatorial assignment, in his four-decade political innings, he remained an MLA four times in Rajasthan and also a Lok Sabha member. After losing in the 2009 LS polls, he entered the Rajya Sabha in 2010, where his term ended last month.
He also mentioned that he is a descendent of Meera Bai, the 16th-century mystic poet and devotee of Lord Krishna.