Pondy CM, cabinet ministers sit-in outside Kiran Bedi residence
Stepping up the attack on Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy began a dharna with his ministerial colleagues outside Raj Nivas, demanding that she accord sanction for 39 government proposals, including a free rice scheme. Congress and DMK MLAs are also participating in the protest outside the Raj Nivas, the official office cum residence of the Lt Governor.
Sporting black shirts, they squatted on the road outside Raj Nivas, protesting against her 'negative stand' in rejecting files on various matters sent to her for approval. The Chief Minister later told reporters that they took strong exception to the "continued rejection of government proposals to ameliorate the lot of the poor and have-nots".
Narayanasamy said Bedi's recent decision to make helmet wearing mandatory without generating awareness among two-wheeler riders, as proposed by the government "is a clear case of her going her way and causing harassment to the people". He alleged that the Lt Governor had not approved 39 government proposals, sent to her for approval since the last few weeks.
He cited various instances, including implementation of the free rice scheme, grants to privately managed educational institutions, the sanction of funds for government undertakings and implementation of various welfare schemes for Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and OBCs which were stalled by the Lt Governor though funds were earmarked in the budget for them. "Kiran Bedi should mend her ways and sanction her approval to our decisions. If she wants, she can contest an election in Puducherry", the Chief Minister said.
All the Ministers A Namassivayam, M O H F Shah Jahan, M Kandasamy, Malladi Krishna Rao and R Kamalakannan, DMK MLA R Siva and those from the Congress were among those who participated in the dharna. Narayanasamy insisted that they would leave the venue only after getting a positive reply from the Lt Governor that she would concede to all their proposals.
Asked if he would hold discussions with Bedi, he shot back "why should we? Let her come here and hold talks with us" The Chief Minister had led an agitation in front of Parliament in Delhi on January 4, pushing for the demand that the Centre sanction statehood for Puducherry and to replace Kiran Bedi as Lt Governor. The Lt Governor and the government headed by Narayanasamy had been at loggerheads over various issues ever since Bedi assumed office in May 2016.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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