A day after Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar sought land for the construction of a new Vidhan Sabha building in Chandigarh, political parties in Punjab opposed the move in unison, even seeking the intervention of the Prime Minister on the issue.
Leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa wrote a letter to the PM, drawing his attention to the Haryana CM’s demand for 10 acres for the construction of a separate assembly building on a land-to-land exchange basis in Chandigarh.
Bajwa said it was fraught with the danger of disturbing the already worrisome law and order situation in the state.
“The record will bear me out that the claim of Punjab over Chandigarh as its capital is well recognised as far back as 1970. On January 29, 1970, nearly three years after Haryana came into being, the Centre had issued a formal communication declaring that Haryana, in due course, would have its capital and Chandigarh would continue to remain the capital of Punjab,” said Bajwa.
“As per the constitutional scheme, the Parliament is competent for the alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states (including union territories) by framing a law. However, the proviso to Article 3 provides that no Bill for this purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendations of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the states. The Bill has to be referred by the President to the legislature of that state for expressing its views thereon. So, the views of the state concerned shall have to be obtained by way of reference by the President to that effect as clarified under Explanation I to Article 3 in the Constitution,” said Bajwa in his letter.
The opposition was joined by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in opposing the demand. “Punjab has sole right over Chandigarh. Haryana will not be allowed to construct its separate legislative assembly in Chandigarh,” it said.
In a statement, AAP’s state chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang asserted, “Chandigarh belongs to Punjab and will always remain so.”
He said Chandigarh was established on land from dozens of villages of Punjab.
He said, “AAP and the Punjab government will vehemently oppose any proposal of the Haryana government to build its separate legislative assembly in Chandigarh.”
On the demand for land, the AAP spokesperson categorically stated that not an inch of land in Chandigarh would be given separately to Haryana.
“Haryana should construct its legislative assembly building in Panchkula, Karnal, or elsewhere. Punjab has the sole right over Chandigarh,” Kang further stated.
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