The dharna by Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy outside Raj Nivas, the residence of the L-G, came to an end after six days on Monday night after a meeting was held between Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Kiran Bedi, the CM, Council of ministers, CS and the Secretaries. Taking to Twitter, Bedi said the government will be back to work from Tuesday. Narayanasami said, “Partial success was achieved on various demands.”
“The Dharna by HCM outside Raj Nivas is over. The HCM, Council of Ministers, CS and Secretaries, met. It helped clarify and consolidate issues. Am happy Puducherry Government will return to work tom morning. So will the road to Raj Nivas be open for visitors to come to Raj Nivas,” Bedi tweeted.
The chief minister said, “We are suspending all the agitations slated for the next two days against Kiran Bedi as we could score partial success on various public issues at the meeting we had with her.”
The Dharna by HCM outside RajNivas is over. The HCM, Council Of Ministers, CS and Secretaries,met.
It helped clarify and consolidate issues. Am happy Puducherry Government will return to work tom morning. So will the road to RajNivas be open for visitors to come to RajNivas.
— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) February 18, 2019
He also said that after the talks with the Lt Governor, he and his cabinet colleagues met at the committee room and it was decided “unanimously” by ministers and legislators that “the agitations including jail bharo and massive fast slated for February 20 and 21 are suspended”. The dharna outside the assembly was also called off immediately after the meeting, he added.
Asserting that the talks were held at the invitation of the Lt Governor on various issues listed by him in his letter sent to her on February 7, Narayanasami said, “Most of the important issues, including payment of monthly assistance to 10,000 new applicants under old age and widow pension, and auctioning of the cooperative sugar mill to raise funds to pay farmers and workers were discussed, and the Lt Governor accorded her approval to these schemes.”
He also said that Bedi accepted the government’s representation for posting of teachers on contract basis and appointment of nurses in government hospitals, Narayanasamy said. On other issues, the chief minister said, Bedi told the ministers that she would consider their representations. “We are satisfied partially with the outcome of the meeting and are suspending all the agitations and calling off the dharna,” he said.
The chief minister, however, said the campaign for statehood would continue “without a break”.
The bitter turf war between Narayanasamy and Bedi had intensified on the night of February 13 as the CM pulled an all-nighter outside the Governor’s house over her “autocratic” behaviour. Along with his cabinet colleagues, the CM dressed in black spent the night outside Raj Nivas and slept on a blanket on the road. Bedi had called the protest “unlawful”.
This time Narayanasamy was protesting Kiran Bedi’s decision to mandate helmets for two-wheeler riders in the Union Territory from February 11. Calling it “a clear case of her going her way and causing harassment to the people”, he said he wants to implement the rule only after generating public awareness. He also claimed that 39 government schemes, including a free rice scheme, is pending with the Governor due to her “undemocratic acts and ways of functioning”. He had written to her regarding the same on February 7.
Before starting the “peaceful protest,” the CM reportedly wrote a letter to Bedi reiterating his demands and requested her to change her style of “undemocratic” governance in the UT. “Kiran Bedi should mend her ways and sanction her approval to our decisions. If she wants, she can contest an election in Puducherry”, the Chief Minister said. He was later joined by Congress and DMK MLAs as well as Puducherry Speaker V Vaithilingam.
In a sharp response to Narayansamy’s dharna, Bedi also wrote a letter to him, terming his protest as “unlawful”. “This method (sitting in dharna) is unheard of from a person of your position,” the Lieutenant Governor said in the letter, which was hand-delivered to the chief minister. She also said that all issues listed by the CM needed examination for a “considered response” and claimed that nothing was pending at the Raj Nivas, as alleged. She also invited the CM for a discussion on February 21.
Both the CM and Bedi have been at loggerheads with each other since 2016. Narayanasamy has often accused Bedi of “overreach and interference” in the day-to-day running of the administration and criticised her for issuing orders to government officials without consulting the chief minister or ministers concerned, besides sitting on files relating to farm loan waiver and free education for Dalits.