New Delhi: Protests have been intensifying across Puducherry against the Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi for allegedly “blocking” welfare schemes meant for the poor of the Union Territory.
The ruling Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance (SDA) has been holding demonstrations from January 8 to protest against the “autocratic functioning” of the lieutenant governor. The agitations have also seen chief minister V. Narayanasami in attendance.
While large-scale protests have been put on hold for now until the Pongal festival to ensure that people do not face difficulties, welfare minister M. Kandasamy has been on an indefinite dharna on the state assembly premises from January 10, which entered the fourth day on Wednesday.
Kandasamy accused Bedi of deliberately delaying approvals for 15 bills relating to his department sent to her on January 9. Among the bills sent to her for clearance are the release of pending Rs 12 crore for civic amenities, clearance for increasing housing subsidy from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, fund allocation for residential schools, and 10,000 more additional beneficiaries under the old-age pension scheme.
In a release on Wednesday, he said he had written to the President, Prime Minister, Union home minister and social justice and empowerment minister highlighting Bedi’s failure to greenlight his files.
“The LG is functioning in an autocratic and undemocratic manner. She is blocking the welfare measures of the government and trying to stop the decisions of the cabinet. This is a total violation of the constitutional guidelines and the Union government must recall the LG who is unfit for the office,” Narayanasami had said recently.
This is not the first time the state government and Bedi are at loggerheads. Bedi and Narayanasami, who assumed their roles in May and June 2016 respectively, have had several confrontations for the last four years on a number of issues.
To carry forward the protests, the ruling SDA partners will restart and intensify the campaign in the Union Territory after Pongal festival. “The parties will hold a signature campaign on January 22, protest demonstrations in all constituencies on January 29, hunger strikes on February 5, and a bandh in the second week of February,” a statement from demonstrators read.
(With PTI inputs)