Puducherry Chief Minister C Narayanaswamy on Wednesday sat in a dharna in front of Raj Nivas in protest against Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, alleging that she was putting spokes in the wheels on all Government’s welfare and job creation schemes and thereby hampering the Union Territory’s development.
Sporting a black shirt, Narayanaswamy staged the dharna to show that he had had enough of this “obstructionist” Lt Governor for the past two years and more. The dharna, which started as a token protest, went late into night and Narayanaswamy rejected the Lt Governor’s offer of talks and said he would continue the protest till she cleared all pending files.
Kiren Bedi told him that they could sort all issues through talks on Friday. But Narayanaswamy refused. Citing the latest instance of her meddling in the administration, Narayanaswamy said Kiren Bedi got into the streets and stopped two-wheeler riders with helmets “like traffic constable” to enforce the helmet rule. She had demeaned the high office she was holding, he said .
Narayanaswamy said his administration believed that the helmet rule should be enforced through persuasion and awareness campaign rather than thorough diktat which people do no t like.
He said the Lt Governor had obstructed all welfare schemes of the Government. She held up the file on distribution of 20 kg rice a month free to all ration holders, saying it should be confined to the poor, Likewise, she also objected to Pongal gift to the people.
The Lt Governor also held up payment of relief to workers of three mills who had not got their salaries for the past three months, he told reporters. More serious, she was also blocking Central assistance to the Union Territory, he charged. The Chief Minister was joined in the protest by members of the DMK, an ally of the Congress government.