Chandigarh — The Centre may elicit the views of opposition parties on the contentious issue of the Anandpur Sahib resolution, the acceptance of which has been made by the Akali leaders and precondition for a settlement with the Government.

The move, according to Congress (I) sources, is being considered by the Cabinet subcommittee appointed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, to study the Punjab problem and suggest measures to resolve it.

The Cabinet Subcommittee which is going into the whole gamut of the problem has already met representatives of various sections of the people, including the Punjab Congress (I).

It is recognized that while the river waters and the territorial issues are not likely to pose a major problem for arriving at a settlement as differences on these issues were almost resolved after a series of talks which abruptly ended in February 1984, the Anandpur Sahib resolution will become a hurdle whenever the talks are resumed. Both the Government and the Akali leaders now controlling the party in the absence of senior leaders have adopted tough attitudes on the issue. The ruling party had made opposition to the resolution its election plank in the Lok Sabha poll stating that it threatened the integrity of the country.

Informed Congress (1) sources do not consider the move to hold discussions with opposition parties a departure from the Centre’s known stand on the Anandpur Sahib resolution.

Another alternative reportedly being examined is to refer the resolution to the Sarkaria Commission. Although the Prime Minister has already announced that the Akali Dal could refer it to the Sarkaria Commission on its own, its reference to the commission by the Government, it is pointed out, will not mean that the Government has compromised its stand against the resolution.

Sources, however, point out that the important question in the entire controversy is as to which version of the resolution is finally made the basis of its stand by the senior Akali leadership.

The Government, it is stated, will not give way if the Akali Dal insists on the original 1973 version demanding transfer of all powers to the states by the Centre except five major departments including external affairs, finance, defense and communications and creation of an area where the Skihs enjoy supremacy.

The Centre’s attitude, it is claimed, may be different in the case of the 1978 resolution adopted by the all India Akali conference at Ludhiana, the forces of which was on establishing a ‘‘true federal structure’ in India and giving of more powers to the states.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 15, 1985