Chandigarh Issue – UPSC GS2

  • Punjab chief minister moved a resolution in the Assembly, seeking the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab.
  • The longstanding dispute between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh flared up after the Centre notified Central Service Rules for employees in the Union Territory instead of the Punjab Service Rules.
  • After the Partition of India, the Indian Government wanted a modern city to replace Lahore as Punjab’s capital, and the idea of Chandigarh was conceived.
  • In 1966, the state was divided into Punjab and Haryana with some parts coming under Himachal Pradesh.
  • Until Haryana was born, Chandigarh remained the capital of Punjab.
  • During the reorganisation of Punjab, the Centre Government announced that Haryana would get its own capital.
  • In 1970, the Centre announced that “the capital project area of Chandigarh should, as a whole, go to Punjab”.
  • Haryana was told to use the office and residential accommodation in Chandigarh for five years until it built its own capital.
  • However, Chandigarh remained a Union Territory, as Haryana didn’t build a capital of its own.
  • According to the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, the properties in Chandigarh were to be divided in a 60:40 ratio in favour of Punjab.
Subsequent claims:
  • In August 1982, the Akali Dal (political party), having expressed dissatisfaction over the Punjab Reorganisation Act, launched the protests with the object of realising the goals of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973.
  • Anandpur Sahib Resolution adopted in 1973 by Akali Dal demanded that the Centre’s jurisdiction should be restricted only to defence, foreign affairs, communications, and currency and the entire residuary powers should be vested in the states.
  • Amongst other demands, it asked for Chandigarh to be given to Punjab.
  • In 1985, the Rajiv-Longowal Accord was signed between then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Akali leader Harchand Singh Longowal.
  • Among other things, the Centre agreed to give Chandigarh to Punjab, and 26th January 1986 was fixed as the date for the actual transfer.
  • However, less than a month after the signing of the accord, Longowal was assassinated by militants.
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