Chandigarh: Within hours of reports that the union government on Wednesday appointed former bureaucrat and Kerala BJP leader K.J. Alphons as the new Administrator of union territory of Chandigarh, an upset Punjab Chief Minister intervened and urged the union government “to review and revise the decision”.
“The Chief Minister requested the Union government to review and revise the decision,” a spokesman for Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Wednesday.
No orders or notification regarding Alphons’s appointment was received by the Chandigarh Administration till late Wednesday.
The centre’s move, if implemented, would end a 32-year-old system of the Punjab Governor also controlling the union territory of Chandigarh as Administrator.
A former bureaucrat and now Kerala BJP leader, Alphons Kannanthanam is known for his hands-on approach in administration and as a crusader against corruption.
The centre’s reported move came along with the appointment of Rajasthan BJP leader V.P. Singh Badhore as the new governor for poll-bound Punjab.
Badhore, unlike his predecessors, has not been given the charge of UT Administrator.
If he is made to join, Alphons will be the first full time, independent Administrator (equivalent to a Lt Governor) in Chandigarh.
But the development has clearly created a political controversy in Punjab, which goes for assembly elections in around six months.
On the defensive, but clearly upset with the centre’s sudden move, Badal sought an immediate review of the decision.
“Let no one try to create any confusion on the claim of Punjab on Chandigarh in the minds of the people of Punjab or elsewhere. Regardless of anything else or any other decision, Punjab will never allow its legitimate right over the capital and other Punjabi speaking areas to be compromised or diluted,” Badal said here amid the new developments.
Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh also rejected the appointment of the “independent administrator for Chandigarh, saying it was a blatantly unjust move aimed at snatching away Chandigarh from Punjab and an attempt to deliberately weaken Punjab’s claim over Chandigarh.
Amarinder asked Badal, whose party Shiromani Akali Dal is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre, to clarify his stand on the issue.
A bureaucrat-turned-politician, Alphons, who was known as the ‘Demolition Man’ in Delhi during his eventful tenure as Delhi Development Authority (DDA) commissioner in the 1990s and has been a crusader against corruption, said that he is likely to join here next week.
A 1979-batch IAS officer, who hails from a village in Kerala’s Kottayam district, Alphons had an eventful career as a bureaucrat, taking on everything that was wrong with the system. He quit the IAS in 2006 and was elected as a legislator in Kerala in the same year. He joined the BJP later.