The turn of events over the issue of charge of UT administrator has thrown up an interesting scenario: all major political parties of Punjab strongly opposed the idea of a separate UT administrator, while the Chandigarh units of the same parties were solidly behind dissociating the administrator’s role from the Punjab governor.
It had finally come down to the BJP, the SAD, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party units of Punjab on one side, versus their same party cells in Chandigarh on the other. While the Punjab units lobbied hard and prevailed, the local units just watched and lost.
With elections in Punjab round the corner, the Centre clearly didn’t have much option, but to side with the Punjab politicians’ stance. So, the charge of UT administrator stays with the Punjab governor as has been the practice for 32 years.
The local political veterans are now reacting with caution to the development as they don’t want to annoy their central leadership as also their Punjab counterparts on the eve of the elections.
“I never even supported or lobbied for the separate administrator or the chief commissioner’s system,” claimed local MP Kirron Kher, when it was pointed out to her that her party, BJP, has been pressing hard for revival of the chief commissioner system. “The party may be doing it, but I never demanded it,” she said. So, was she opposed to the Centre’s earlier decision to have a separate administrator? “Well, I can’t comment on that,” she said.
“But I am very happy at the final decision. The new governor and administrator VP Singh Badnore is a very experienced and able administrator.”
While expressing similar emotions for Badnore, her party colleague and former MP Satya Pal Jain attributed the change of decision to the vociferous protests by the Punjab political parties.
“The Centre tried the idea of having an independent administrator, but it changed its decision onsecond thoughtsfollowing strong objection by all major parties,” he said.
“The idea was to prevent any tension in the region which is understandable.”
Another veteran leader and former MP from Congress, Pawan Kumar Bansal taunted the ruling party for ‘cutting a sorry figure by reversing its decision’.
He too expressed happiness over the choice of administrator.
When pressed upon to specify whether he would prefer a separate administrator or an additional charge with Punjab governor, he opted for the former. “In fact, a chief commissioner would be good enough,” he said.
“They simply need to turn the post of adviser into a chief commissioner.”
Despite their opposition, the local party units seem to have reconciled to the reversal of the administrator decision in the interest of their parties in Punjab.