(PTI Photo)
(PTI Photo)

Puducherry: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Sunday warned his ‘dharna’ outside Raj Nivas, for Lt Governor Kiran Bedi’s approval for his government’s proposals on welfare schemes and administrative matters, would intensify into a “jail bharo” agitation from February 20.

As his dharna entered the fifth day on Sunday, Narayanasamy said, “Our protest will continue till our demands, contained in the letter sent to the lt governor on February 7, are met.” He has accused Bedi of not approving his government’s 39 proposals for welfare schemes, including a free rice scheme, and on administrative matters. In a letter to Narayanasamy, Bedi has reacted sharply to the public protest and termed his dharna “unlawful”. She has offered to discuss all issues with him at a public forum on February 21.

The two have been at loggerheads on various administrative issues since Bedi was appointed LG in May 2016. On Sunday, the chief minister, his ministers and leaders of the ruling coalition hoisted black flags atop their residences as part of their protest against the lt governor. “It is unfortunate that we have been pushed to the necessity of hoisting black flags to show our protest,” Narayanasamy said, and accepted Bedi’s offer to discuss the sticking points “as per her choice of the venue and time”.

Claiming that Bedi had “threatened” to take the protesters to task, he said, “We will not be cowed down by such threats and we are prepared even to court arrest”. The chief minister said leaders of the coalition partners would write letters to the president, the prime minister and the Union home minister, urging them to “recall” the LG. “We will launch a ‘jail bharo’ agitation on February 20 by holding protests in front of central government institutions and will observe fast outside the Head Post Office on February 21,” he said.

He also accused Bedi of spending government funds on attending private functions in Delhi although the former IPS officer “has been making tall claims that austerity should be observed in public life”. Official sources told PTI that Bedi, who was previously scheduled to return to Puducherry on February 20, has cut short her visit to Delhi and is returning on Sunday. Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed outside Raj Nivas and in other sensitive areas in Puducherry for a week.

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