NEW DELHI: It looks like the dispute between Punjab and Haryana over Chandigarh is flaring up once again.
With Punjab planning a New Chandigarh in the Mullanpur area next to the capital city and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal reiterating – what the Akalis have been doing for decades – that Punjab will ultimately get Chandigarh, Haryana chief Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday responded angrily by saying, “Chandigarh belongs to Haryana as earlier it was a part of Ambala and we will definitely get it.’’
Asked for his reaction to the Punjab deputy chief minister’s claim over Chandigarh, Hooda said in Chandigarh, “I wonder on what basis they are staking claim on Chandigarh, as initially, Chandigarh was a part of Ambala. They are claiming Chandigarh on the basis of Chandigarh being the capital of erstwhile Punjab. If that is the basis of their argument, then Lahore and Shimla too have been the capitals of Punjab. Why don’t they stake claim on Lahore and Shimla also?’’
The transfer of Chandigarh, Bhakra Dam and Punjabi-speaking areas of Haryana to Punjab has been the major demand of the Akalis since the bifurcation of the state in 1966 to create Haryana.
Under the Rajiv-Longowal accord of 1985, Punjab was to get Chandigarh in lie of its Hindi-speaking which were to be given to Haryana. But last-minute hitches, including the assassination of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal by militants for signing the accord, derailed the process.