In a move reminiscent of the actions of Delhi and West Bengal governments, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy took to the streets of his own city on Wednesday in protest against Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi. He and his party leaders conducted a sit-in agitation in front of the Raj Nivas to condeman Bedi's alleged interference in the running of the government and stalling of welfare schemes. This protest continued through the night with the leaders all seated before the LG's residence. The CM has warned that the agitation will not end till his demands are met.
The Chief Minister who was dressed in black, as a sign of protest was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues, Congress and DMK MLAs. Amongst his allegations against the LG were her insistence on immediately enforcing the helmet rule which he claims is an overreach by the constitutional authority. He further accused her of preventing the elected government from executing welfare measures like Pongal bonus and free rice to ration card holders.
According to reports, Narayanasamy's decision to protest comes after Bedi failed to reply to his request to fulfil a 39-charter demand of the government. He had sent the letter to her on February 7.
"The protest is against the attitude of the Lt. Governor and her way of functioning. She has been poking her nose into the administration for the past two-and-a-half years by not allowing the elected government to function at its will. Her (Bedi’s) attitude is unconstitutional and I am determined to continue till she resolves at least a few issues," the Chief Minister told Deccan Herald in an interview. "The government wanted to implement a free rice scheme, but the LG wanted money to be given directly to the people. She does not understand that people want rice and not money and she always acts against the will of the people. She has not allowed our government to recruit teachers, police constables and nurses. The LG is also creating troubles in the long-held policy of government paying 95% of the salary of unaided school teachers," he adds.
The last straw, according to the report, was when Bedi ignored the government's decision to create awareness before enforcing the compulsory helmet rule. The LG reportedly took to the street and started reprimanding people who were not wearing a helmet.
On Saturday, the Puducherry Police department had announced that wearing helmets would be mandatory from February 11 and that a fine of Rs 100 would be levied if the rule was violated. When the Chief Minister insisted that the need for a helmet be explained first, however, Kiran Bedi reportedly said to mediapersons, "The Chief Minister cannot delay enforcement of a mandatory law. There is no provision for its postponement. Any officer delaying this enforcement or going slow owes an explanation."