The Lede
Pondy Protests To Continue

Pondy Protests To Continue

Kavita Kishore

No let-up in protests until Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi arrives, says Chief Minister Narayanasamy

As the sun rises on the fourth day of protests in Puducherry, with no sign of the Lieutenant Governor relenting to the demands, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy shows no sign of backing down either. Now, the cabinet and allies have come up with a timetable for the next six days, until Bedi returns to the Union Territory on February 21.

Now, the protest, which was solely concentrated outside the Raj Nivas is set to be split up, Narayanasamy announced at a press conference on Friday. “We will be conducting public meetings in 12 different places, including many of the suburbs, where the MLAs will take part and condemn Kiran Bedi’s action,” he said.

Over the next couple of days, even the central protest will be split up. While the party leaders, Narayanasamy, and Congress MLAs will continue to protest outside the Raj Nivas, the other people participating in the protest will move towards the Head Post Office, where the leaders of the protest will address the crowd on a periodic basis, he added.

“We want to make sure that the protests are peaceful, and conducted in the Gandhian way,” he announced, adding that there would be a fast on February 21, the day Kiran Bedi called for the meeting with the Chief Minister.

In the meanwhile, over the next few days, the protestors will send out emails, letters and other messages to the President, Vice President and Prime Minister asking for Bedi’s removal. The Communist Parties have also asked for the withdrawal of the central paramilitary forces. “The presence of paramilitary in a peaceful protest leads to a situation of panic, which is unnecessary in this situation,” N Kalainathan of the Communist Party of India said.

On Thursday night, Bedi asked the Director General of Police, S Sundari Nanda, for a daily report on the law and order situation in the Union Territory to be delivered to her directly. Congress leaders, including Indian Congress Committee Tamil Nadu-in-Charge Sunil Dutt, and Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee Chief KS Alagiri also arrived to support the protest. In his speech, Dutt said that if the Congress took over at the Centre, they would immediately dismiss Bedi for her “unconstitutional actions.”

The Puducherry Assembly Speaker, V Vaithilingam has also written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ask him to intervene in the situation.