On Monday evening, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi arrived in Delhi to meet Home Minister Amit Shah.
The unexpected meeting between Punjab CM and Home Minister Amit Shah naturally had the netizens wondering about the plausible cause for the duo to meet.
People on the Internet speculated many reasons behind this meet—while some said it has a political basis as the leaders met each other ahead of assembly poll results, some went further ahead to suggest that Channi might be joining the BJP while breaking Congress MLAs looking at the disappointing performance of the party as predicted in the assembly exit polls. All the exit polls have predicted a landslide victory of the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab.
👀— Dr. Mukul Kumar (@WhiteCoat_no_48) March 7, 2022
With the wave showing AAP getting majority seats, are Congress & BJP planning to make an alliance.
Many others speculated that something is fishy as the visit came just days ahead of the much-awaited assembly elections results.
Exit polls ke baad visit..kuch to gadabad lag rahi hai— Trupti Garg (@garg_trupti) March 7, 2022
The real cause behind Punjab CM Channi seeking an audience with HM Amit Shah
However, it was earlier reported on March 6, that CM Channi had sought a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah to take up with him the issue of a recent change in rules for the selection of members of the Bhakra-Beas Management Board. While the issue has gained much importance in Punjab politics, this came after Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana K P Singh met Governor Banwarilal Purohit over the same issue on February 28. The speaker said the recent change in rules for the selection of two members of the BBMB would be detrimental to the interests of Punjab and Haryana.
Confirming the same, CM Channi spoke to the media after his meeting with Amit Shah. He said, “Main issue was BBMB (Bhakra Beas Management Board), officers should be deployed like earlier. The Centre wants to deploy people from outside. I requested HM to reconsider it,” According to Channi, HM Shah assured him that the issue will be discussed with the concerned minister in 1-2 days and the decision will be taken as per Punjab’s wish.
As per Channi, the issue of bringing students hailing from Punjab back from Ukraine was also on the cards for his meeting. Channi said, “997 of our students were in Ukraine out of whom 420 have returned, 200 have gone to Poland & are safe but some people are still stuck. I made a request for them, Home Minister assured me that they are monitoring and the students will be back,”
However, this was not the first time when the two leaders showed signs of mutual agreement in the national political scene. When AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was accused earlier in February of sabotaging national interests while giving tickets to people with Khalistani links in Punjab, Punjab CM Channi wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah requesting him to probe the matter. Wasting no time, Amit Shah assured Channi, “I assure you that no one will be permitted to disturb the nation’s unity. The Government of India is taking this issue seriously and I will personally look into the matter in depth.”
The BBMB deployment issue
The Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) is a statutory body formed under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, that manages water resources of rivers Sutlej and Beas. As per the laid rules, the body has a full-time chairman with the member for power from Punjab and the member for irrigation from Haryana, which is elected by a board of senior engineers. Reportedly, the centre’s decision to allow anyone to apply for these posts has created a controversy in Punjab.
Congress leader from Punjab, Sunil Jakhar had accused that the Center has tweaked the BBMB rules to the detriment of Punjab and wrote to Channi to take up this issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BBMB clarified saying that there is no attempt to change the already existing system to give due representation to Punjab and Haryana. After the assurance of Amit Shah to make a decision in favour of Punjab, the controversy of the appointment of BBMB members will likely go down the drain.