Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated today during his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat” that Chandigarh airport will be renamed after independence fighter Bhagat Singh. People are saying that the BJP is doing more to honor the dead legend than the Aam Aadmi Party.
“As a tribute to the great liberation fighter,” PM Modi remarked, “it has been decided that the Chandigarh airport will now be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh.” Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann hailed the announcement, saying it satisfied a long-standing desire of Punjabis. Finally, our efforts were rewarded. “We appreciate the decision to name the Chandigarh airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh ji on behalf of entire Punjab,” Mr. Mann stated in a Punjabi tweet.
Haryana’s Deputy Chief Minister, Dushyant Chautala, also praised the announcement. Mr. Chautala stated that the governments of Punjab and Haryana had previously agreed to name the Chandigarh international airport after Bhagat Singh. The decision came after Bhagwant Mann and Dushyant Chautala met last month to discuss the problem.
In reference to his meeting, Mr. Mann stated that the Punjab government had also sent a letter to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, stating that Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary falls on September 28 and that it would be ideal if the airport could be named after the legendary freedom fighter before that date. “I am pleased that our efforts were rewarded, and the Prime Minister made the announcement on the Mann Ki Baat show,” Mr. Mann added.
The Punjab Chief Minister began his tenure with a symbolic tribute to the renowned freedom fighter. The AAP sponsored Bhagwant Mann’s inauguration event in Khatkar Kalan, Bhagat Singh’s ancestral hamlet. The color “Basanti (yellow)” was prevalent throughout the venue.
The yellow turbans, the signature of comedian-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann, flooded the village of Khatkar Kalan in response to his request that residents wear “Basanti turbans and dupattas” to his swearing-in. The venue and decor were both yellow. Bhagat Singh wore red turbans, which became associated with revolution.
Bhagwant Mann announced a public holiday on March 23, the anniversary of Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom, just a few days after taking office. AAP has meticulously planned to claim Bhagat Singh’s heritage, which is popular among young people and in rural North India. This is not the first time a request to rename an airport in the union territory after Bhagat Singh has been raised.
In 2017, the Punjab government requested that the airport be renamed “Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali.” The Haryana Assembly, led by the BJP, overwhelmingly passed a resolution on the subject in April 2016. The state administration stated that it had no objections to the renaming but that the word “Mohali” should be removed.
The action by the BJP state administration was interpreted as a power play against the then-ruling Congress in neighboring Punjab. With the airport’s terminal structure collapsing in Punjab’s Mohali town, the Punjab government erected “Mohali airport” signage, infuriating the Haryana government. The next year, in 2017, there was a commotion in the Rajya Sabha when the Opposition claimed that the BJP government in Haryana had refused to name it after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
The naming of the Chandigarh airport, according to CPM legislator Ritabrata Banerjee, has caused controversy. The Punjab government agreed to name the airport after Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh, but the Haryana government, specifically the Haryana Chief Minister, said no. “They intend to call the airport Mangal Sein,” he stated.
The Congress had joined the fray, claiming that the BJP intended to name it after the party’s former Haryana Chief Minister, Mangal Sein. The BJP, on the other hand, disputed the charge, claiming that it was never made. The airport project, at Rs. 485 crores, is a collaboration between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the governments of Punjab and Haryana.
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