As the dharna by Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy against Lt governor Kiran Bedi continued for the second day on Thursday, a showdown seemed imminent with the Centre sending two companies of Central Reserve Police Force to the Union Territory to guard the Raj Nivas which is under a siege.
The entire opposition rallied behind the Chief Minister and even Congress president Rahul Gandhi and DMK president M K Stalin came out with statements to show their solidarity.The dharna was joined by all the Ministers and even Assembly Speaker. The only party supporting the Lt Governor is the breakaway All India N Rangaswamy Congress(AINRC) which is supporting the BJP though it has no presence in the Union Territory.
The dharna climaxed friction between the Chief Minister and pro-active Lt Governor which started ever since she assumed office in 2016.Before going on dharna, Narayanaswamy wrote to the Lt Governor on Feb 7, making a litany of charges against her to show that she was stalling all welfare and development schemes to destabalise the Congress-DMK Government.
He said Bedi had stopped the free supply of 20 kg rice a month to all ration holders, and free sari and dhoti to the poor. She also stalled grants-in-aid to ailing PSU and textile mills and aided schools. As a result PSU employees were going without salary, he charged.
Narayanaswamy said Bedi had scuttled recruitment of school teachers on contract basis as also police constables and home guards.He said Bedi stopped lease of government land to attract new industries. The Chief Minister said Bedi stopped the release of Rs 136 crore grant from the Centre for the Yanam flood bank work.
The tipping point was the way Bedi got into the streets and stopped two-wheeler riders without helmets to enforce helmet rule. It drew the ire of even the AIADMK with its legislators breaking helmets on the road as a mark of protest.
Narayanaswamy said his government was for enforcing the rule through awareness campaign and not through coercion.“She has devalued the high office by acting like a traffic constable”, Narayanaswamy told reporters.
. He said that he went on dharna as there was no response from the Lt Governor to his letter in which he has listed 36 points to show her “unconstitutional, illegal and wanton acts”.
He said the Lt Governor, acting in concert with Prime Miniser Narendra Modi and AINRC leader N Rangasamy was trying to cripple his administration.