Faced with stiff resistance from Punjab’s ruling and opposition parties, the Centre has put on hold the appointment of K J Aphons as an Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh.
The turnaround came as the political parties, including the ruling Akali Dal in Punjab, urged the Union Home Minister to review the appointment of the Administrator, arguing it will effectively take away the powers of the Governor of Punjab over Chandigarh and may not be in the larger interest of the state, Punjab government sources said.
They said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal prevailed over the Union Home Ministry, arguing the move to take Chandigarh away from the control of Punjab Governor will send a wrong signal to the people in the poll-bound state.
Soon after the news broke regarding Alphons’ appointment, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh as well as the AAP issued press statements, strongly opposing the move.
Later, vying to take credit of keeping Chandigarh under Punjab Governor’s fold, Badal snapped at Congress leader Amarinder saying his protests on appointment of Administrator were “nothing more than crocodile tears.”
“Will Captain Singh please tell Punjabis as to who kept Chandigarh out of Punjab? Will he also tell why the City was not transferred to Punjab on January 26, 1986, as promised under the Rajiv-Longowal Accord which he now talks about?” Badal hit out, calling Captain and his Congressmen “the real culprits for Chandigarh being denied to Punjab.”
Earlier, talking over telephone from Kerala, Alphons said, “I will be joining next week.”
Meanwhile, AAP too opposed the appointment.
Punjab’s demand for Chandigarh had been relegated to the back burner and is now talked about only in rhetoric.
The practice of appointing an Administrator of the UT designated as “Chief Commissioner” continued up to May 31, 1984.
Thereafter, on June 1, 1984, the Governor of Punjab took over the direct administration of the Union Territory as the administrator.
“Chief Commissioner” was re-designated as “Adviser to the Administrator” from June 1, 1984.
After the reorganisation of Punjab and Haryana in 1966, the post of Chief Commissioner was created for Chandigarh.
K Banarji was the last Chief Commissioner who was re-designated as Adviser to Administrator with effect from June 1, 1984.