Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday moved a resolution in the Assembly seeking the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to the state, reported The Indian Express. Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, is a Union Territory.

“Chandigarh city was created as the capital of Punjab,” the resolution notice said. “In all past precedents, whenever a state has been divided, the capital remains with the parent state. Punjab therefore, has been laying its claim for complete transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.”

The resolution was moved after Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday had announced that central civil service rules will be applied to all Chandigarh administration employees.

Mann and other political leaders in Punjab had opposed the move. The chief minister had said that the Union government’s decision was against the spirit of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

In Friday’s resolution, Mann said that through the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, Punjab was divided into Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh, while some parts of the state were given to Himachal Pradesh. He added that since then there was a balance in the administration of common assets.

“Through many of its recent actions, the Centre has been trying to upset this balance,” he said.

Citing the example of the Bhakra Beas Management Board, the resolution said that the Centre had advertised the posts of the body’s members for all central and state government employees. It said that traditionally the posts were filled by officers of Punjab and Haryana.

The Bhakra Beas Management Board was formed after Punjab was reorganised. It regulates the supply of water from the Satluj, Ravi and Beas rivers to the states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

“Similarly, Chandigarh administration has always been managed by officers of Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 60:40,” the resolution said.

It also urged the Centre to honour the principle of federalism and not take any steps that may disturb the balance in administration of the Union Territory and its assets.

Opposition to Centre’s decision

After Shah’s Sunday announcement, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said that the Union home minister took away Chandigarh’s powers as soon as his party formed a government in Punjab.

“BJP is scared of AAP’s rising footprint,” Sisodia had tweeted.

In the recent state elections, the Aam Aadmi Party had won an overwhelming majority in Punjab, bagging 92 of the 117 Assembly constituencies.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira had described the Centre’s move as a “dictatorial decision” of the BJP to usurp upon the rights of Punjab over control of Chandigarh.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Daljit Cheema had asked the BJP to reconsider the move. “This means denial of the right of capital to Punjab forever,” had he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Shah had claimed that the decision would benefit the employees. The retirement age for them will be increased from 58 years to 60 years and for those in the field of education to 65, he had said.

“Teachers will also be entitled to get the child education allowance...Women employees will get child care and maternity leave for up to two years,” Shah had added.