Chandigarh: After stirring a controversy by proposing the name of a RSS leader for the Chandigarh airport instead of Bhagat Singh, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said that his government had no objection to it being named after the famed freedom fighter.
“When the matter was discussed with us, the name (of Bhagat Singh) had not been finalised. Since no name was finalised, we proposed the name of Dr Mangal Sein through a letter. Even if they keep the name (of the Chandigarh airport) after Bhagat Singh, we have no objection to it,” Khattar, who was on the defensive over the controversy, told media here.
“It (airport’s name) can be kept on Bhagat Singh’s name. But they (central government) must ensure that the airport contains the name ‘Chandigarh’ and nothing else. Our only objection was only on the use of the name Chandigarh,” he said.
The ‘Civil Air Terminal Chandigarh’ was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 11.
It was proposed, and earlier agreed upon by the Punjab and Haryana governments, that it should be named after Bhagat Singh, a national icon of the country’s freedom struggle.
But the BJP government led by Khattar wrote a letter to the union civil aviation ministry proposing the name of once RSS leader Mangal Sein for the airport.
His Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal last week wrote an angry letter to Prime Minister Modi, clearly upset over Khattar’s move, terming it as “distasteful”.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma recently told parliament that naming the airport was delayed as the Punjab and Haryana government had not agreed to one name.
The terminal building is actually in Punjab’s Mohali town and the Punjab government calls it and has put up signages saying ‘Mohali airport’ – a step which has upset the Haryana government.
Punjab and Haryana, which have 24.5 percent stake in the airport terminal project, had agreed long time back that it should be named ‘Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport’. The Punjab and Haryana assemblies had, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, passed resolutions for naming the airport after the freedom fighter.
Mangal Sein’s claim to fame was being deputy chief minister of Haryana briefly in late 1970s, being seven time legislator and being the Haryana BJP president.