The stand-off between the Puducherry government and Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi entered the sixth day on Monday as talks scheduled for Sunday were cancelled, PTI reported.
Bedi, who cut short her trip to Delhi and returned to Puducherry, on Sunday morning tweeted that she had invited Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and his colleagues for a meeting on Sunday evening at Raj Nivas.
Narayanasamy replied to Bedi’s invitation, requesting the meeting to be held at the Secretariat’s Conference Hall “to have a neutrality” for the discussion. The chief minister said the Officer on Special Duty or Consultant of the office of Lt Governor should not be present at the meeting.
Narayanasamy, his Cabinet colleagues, and legislators from the Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have been protesting outside Bedi’s residence since February 13, claiming that the lieutenant governor has had a “negative stand” towards his government’s proposals that need clearance.
Bedi on Sunday evening tweeted that the chief minister had laid down conditions to accept her invitation for the talks. The conditions were the venue of the meeting, who should be invited for the meeting and how the meeting should be conducted.
“His reasons for continuing d [the] agitation is obviously for reasons other than what he’s claiming,” Bedi said. “Matter over.” Bedi, in her response to Narayansamy’s letter, said she had cut short her public engagements and returned to Puducherry to hold a meeting with him to “avoid inconvenience to people of Puducherry” due to his “politically motivated agitations.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will join Narayanasamy’s dharna in Puducherry on Monday, reported The Indian Express. Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia are expected to reach the dharna site around noon, according to a statement from the Delhi Chief Minister’s Office. Bedi had stood for elections in Delhi against Kejriwal in 2015 and lost.
Narayanasamy has accused Bedi of not clearing 39 government proposals. One matter of contention between him and Bedi is a helmet rule for motorists. On February 10, Bedi herself took to the streets and instructed people to wear helmets. Around 30,000 people have been booked since February 11 for riding motorcycles without helmets. Narayanasamy, however, wanted the rule to be implemented in a phased manner.