A dawn-to-dusk bandh backed by the chief minister against Governor Kiran Bedi’s “undemocratic” style of functioning affected normal life here today. All shops and establishments remained closed, while privately operated inter-state buses and auto rickshaws stayed off the roads.
Private schools were also shut in view of the protest. Chief Minister V Narayanasamy told reporters here that the induction of three members by Bedi “is a shame on the Constitution and the democratic norms and conventions.” He claimed that only the speaker was the constitutional authority to induct any member as legislator of the House.
“The Lt Governor has taken law into her hands and had inducted the three BJP functionaries as members of the House. This is improper and invalid,” he said. The strike has been called by various political parties including the DMK in protest against the “disrespect” shown by the Centre to the people of the union territory. The political parties condemned the “arbitrary manner in which the Centre had finalised the names of three nominated legislators and the undemocratic style of functioning of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, and her induction of the three members secretly in Raj Nivas on July 4.”
The three members nominated by the Centre and inducted as members of the Puducherry Assembly are V Saminathan (president of Puducherry unit of Bharatiya Janata party), K G Shankar (its treasurer) and S Selvaganapathy (an educationist and member of the BJP here). DMK legislator R Siva, the CPI Secretary R Viswanathan, the CPI (M) Secretary R Rajangam, leaders of various outfits were taken into custody after they staged a road roko at Orleanpet junction demanding cancellation of the order of Union Home Ministry appointing the nominated MLAs and replacement of Bedi.
Besides, around 300 volunteers of the VCK who tried to lay siege to Raj Nivas (office of Lt Governor) while raising slogans against the Centre and the Lt Governor were also detained. Volunteers of the Puducherry State Youth Congress led by Ilayaraja were also taken into custody for picketing at the local bus terminal. Raj Nivas was cordoned off and security stepped up around the premises to prevent any escalation of law and order.
The Congress has extended support to the day-long bandh organised by the DMK, left parties, the VCK and other outfits. As many as four state-owned buses including the one proceeding to Tirupati were stoned at various points in and around Puducherry by miscreants, police said, adding no one was injured. Heavy pickets were posted at all vulnerable locations to prevent any untoward incident.