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Centre bows to 'pressure', appoints Punjab Governor as Chandigarh Administrator

Centre bows to pressure, appoints Punjab Governor as Chandigarh Administrator

New Delhi/Chandigarh: Bowing to "political pressure", the Centre on Thursday appointed Punjab Governor V.P. Singh Badnore as the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

The BJP-led government had earlier decided to appoint Kerala BJP leader K.J. Alphons as the new Administrator of the union territory but decided against it following apprehensions expressed by Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

If Alphons had been appointed Administrator, it would have ended a 32-year-old system of the Punjab Governor also controlling the union territory of Chandigarh as Administrator.

On Thursday evening, President Pranab Mukherjee announced that the Punjab Governor would be the Administrator of Chandigarh.

"President Pranab Mukherjee has been pleased to appoint V.P. Singh Badnore to be the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, in addition to his duties as Governor of Punjab," said a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique.

Badnore, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Rajasthan, was appointed the Punjab Governor on Wednesday.

Badnore, unlike his predecessors, had not been given the charge of UT Administrator.

The poll-bound state got a regular Governor after a gap of around 18 months.

Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki had been given additional charge of Punjab in January 2015.

Earlier, the NDA government had almost decided to appoint former bureaucrat Alphons as the new Administrator and informed him about the development.

But, later he was informed by BJP president Amit Shah that his appointment is "not going to happen".

Speaking to IANS, Alphons said: "Very soon it's going to be election time in Punjab, and since political parties have expressed reservations against me, the appointment is not going to happen. Since I did not get the orders, the question of the order being cancelled does not arise. I will say that my appointment is not coming through."

"On August 13 BJP president Amit Shah called me to inform that I have been cleared for appointment but following concerns raised by political parties in Punjab, he called me last (Wednesday) night again to say that it is not going to happen," added Alphons.

On Wednesday, news of Alphons' impending appointment had kicked off a political controversy in Punjab, which goes for assembly elections in around six months.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had 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 on Wednesday in Chandigarh.

Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh had also rejected the appointment of the "independent administrator for Chandigarh, terming it a blatantly unjust move aimed at snatching away Chandigarh from Punjab and an attempt to deliberately weaken Punjab's claim over Chandigarh.

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