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Centre drops move to appoint Alphons as Chd Administrator

Bowing to pressure from NDA ally Akali Dal and opposition parties in poll-bound Punjab, the Centre on Thursday dropped its move to appoint retired IAS officer K J Alphons as Administrator of Chandigarh and appointed Governor-designate of Punjab V P Singh Badnore to the post.

The appointment of Alphons would have reversed the 32- year-old system of Punjab governor being the Chandigarh administrator. “The President has been pleased to appoint Shri V.P. Singh Badnore, to be the Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh, in addition to his duties as Governor of Punjab,” a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said.

The Centre’s u-turn came after all the political parties, including key BJP ally Akali Dal with which it is in power in Punjab, approached Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking him to review the decision to appoint Alphons as it would effectively take away the powers of the Governor of Punjab over Chandigarh and may not be in the larger interest of the state.

A 1979 batch IAS officer, Alphons was known as “demolition man”, a sobriquet he earned after he cracked down on illegal encroachments in the national capital during his stint as head of DDA in the 1990s. He quit bureaucracy in 2006 and joined the BJP in 2011.

The move to appoint Alphons did not go down well with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who said his state will never allow its legitimate right over the capital and other Punjabi speaking areas to be compromised or diluted. He is believed to have argued that taking Chandigarh away from the control of Punjab Governor will send a wrong signal to the people in the state where elections are due next year.

Congress and AAP also resented the move. 68-year-old Badnore, former Rajya Sabha MP who hails from Rajasthan, was on Wednesday appointed as the new Governor of Punjab. Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki was holding additional charge of Punjab. With the proposed appointment of Alphons, the Centre had attempted to start the practice of appointing an Administrator of the Union Territory, which existed till May 31, 1984.
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