Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy late on Monday night ended his six-day sit-in dharna after a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, saying that “partial success” on various demands was achieved.
Narayanasamy, who began his demonstration on February 13 on front of the Assembly, had 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.
Other demands in the government proposals included increasing assistance under old age and widow pension schemes.
The decision to call off the protest came after a four-hour long meeting between the chief minister and the lieutenant governor. Narayanasamy said other agitations have also been suspended, including a “jail bharo” agitation and the fast slated for Wednesday and Thursday.
“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 chief minister told reporters. “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 Lieutenant Governor accorded her approval to these schemes.”
Bedi has also accepted the government’s representation to post teachers on contract basis and appointment of nurses in government hospitals, he said. Narayanasamy, however, added that the campaign for statehood would continue “without a break”.
On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Narayansamy to discuss the fight for full statehood for Delhi and Puducherry. “Narayanasami is fighting against dictatorship of Puducherry’s LG,” he said on Twitter. “UT [Union Territory] status to Delhi and [sic] Puducherry is an injustice to their people. We will fight together for full statehood.”