Ruling Congress ministers and other leaders today observed a day-long fast here to demand the ouster of Puducherry’s Lt Governor Kiran Bedi. Puducherry PCC president and PWD minister A Namassivayam, Welfare minister M Kandasamy and Industries minister M O H F Shahjahan, besides party MLAs, were among those on the dawn-to-dusk fast. Addressing the protesters, the PCC leader said since Bedi assumed office in May last year, she had been “showing her true colours to embarrass the Congress government”.
He said the recent nomination of the three BJP persons to the assembly by the Union Home ministry and their induction as members at the Raj Nivas by the Lt Governor “betray the intention of the BJP and Bedi to embarrass the democratically elected Congress government”. He said the fast by the ruling party members was to urge the Centre to recall the Lt Governor so that Puducherry could “march ahead” on all fronts. Kandasamy said, “BJP is indulging in pipe dreams to destabilise the Congress government.”The Congress leaders also appealed to traders and others to cooperate with a day-long bandh called by the DMK, left parties, VCK and other outfits here tomorrow to condemn the “undemocratic style of functioning” of the Lt Governor. The Congress has announced its full support to the bandh.
BJP Puducherry unit president V Saminathan, party treasurer K G Shankar and educationist S Selvaganapathy were recently nominated to the assembly by the home ministry. They were sworn in by Bedi on July 4. Chief Minister V Narayanasamy termed her action a “murder of democracy” and accused her of working like a “BJP agent”. Bedi has, however, maintained that she had acted under the provisions of the Union Territories Act 1963 to induct the three members. The former IPS officer has been at loggerheads with the Congress government on many issues such as the admission of students on a government quota to post graduate medical courses in deemed universities and private medical colleges.