Change in venue for Congress-led dharna against Lt Governor

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(EDS: Adding AIADMK leader's statement) Puducherry, Jan 7 (PTI): The ruling Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance has changed the venue here for its dharna scheduled from January 8.

The venue is Maraimalai Adigal Salai instead of at the Raj Nivas, PCC president A V Subramanian said in a press release.

The dharna would be held for four days from January 8 to 11 to seek replacement of Kiran Bedi as the Lieutenant Governor because she has allegedly been hindering the implementation of welfare measures proposed by the Congress government here.

Police sources said permission was denied to the organisers of the agitationat Raj Nivas as no agitation is permitted within 500 metres radius as per the regulatory order the District Collector Purva Garg had issued on Wednesday.

Subramanian called upon all sections of the ruling Congress to participate on a massive scale in the dharna which would be held between the Venkatasubba Reddiar statue and the Annadurai statue on Maraimalai Adigal Salai.

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, his cabinet colleagues, legislators of the ruling Congress and leaders and workers of the alliance parties would participate in the dharna.

Already, the Chief Minister had mobilised people`s support and participation in the dharna through his constituency-wise campaigns over the last few days.

This is the second time the Chief Minister, along with the ministers and legislators and representatives of alliance parties, would hold the dharna. He held the first in February 2019.

The issues projected in the previous agitation were different as the Chief Minister and others had then sought clearance of the proposals of the government for reopening closed sugar mills and other units besides implementation of the free rice scheme.

The dharna planned for January 8 is to focus on the demand of the Congress and its allies that the 'Lieutenant Governor should quit Puducherry' and to demand statehood for the Union Territory, a source in the Congress party told PTI.

To maintain law and order during the dharna, the government had procured three companies of Central Armed Police Force and the Central Industrial and Security force who have been already deployed at vantage points, including outside the Raj Nivas.

Meanwhile, the Opposition AIADMK questioned the propriety of Narayanasamy being a participant in the dharna.

The AIADMK legislature party leader A Anbalagan said in a press release that the Congress government in Puducherry, which was installed in office with the support of the DMK from outside, has failed the people on several counts as there was no proper planning and execution of schemes.

Instead of meeting the expectations of the people, Narayanasamy was pinning the blame on Lt Governor, the AIADMK leader said. PTI COR NVG NVG