Puducherry CM Narayanasamy rejects Nadda's graft charges as false

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Puducherry, Feb 1 (PTI) Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Monday challenged BJP president J P Nadda to prove his charges against the Congress government here, as he claimed it was Lt Governor Kiran Bedi who was responsible for the closure of textile mills and not him.

Nadda should have ascertained the facts before airing such charges, he said, dismissing as 'false and baseless' the allegations by the former on Sunday that corruption was rampant under the Congress rule in the union territory and textile mills and industrial units were closed because of it.

'I think Nadda has been wrongly briefed on the issues he referred to at a public meeting on Sunday,' the Chief Minister told a press conference here.

At least next time when he comes to the Union Territory, he should get the facts right, Narayanasamy said, adding he would write to the BJP president asking him to prove his charges not only on the mill issue but also on the others raised by him at the meeting.

Launching the BJP's campaign in Puducherry, set to go for assembly elections by April-May, Nadda had made a series of charges against Narayanasamy and the Congress government on various issues, including winding up of the mills and closure of ration shops.

He has asserted that the BJP would sweep the assembly elections here and assured people of the union territory a corruption-free and development-oriented government.

Countering the charge on closure of mills, the chief minister said his Cabinet had decided in 2019 to concede the demand of workers of the government-run AFT Mills to sanction a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for them.

But Bedi decided that the mill be wound up and referred the matter to the Centre, he claimed.

'When the Lieutenant Governor is responsible for the closure of the mills, how can Nadda accuse me and my government,' the Chief Minister said.

Similarly, he said the government wanted distribution of rice through ration shops, but Bedi wanted disbursement of cash equivalent of the foodgrain through bank accounts under the DBT (direct benefit transfer) mode to the beneficiaries.

Rejecting the charge that employees of cooperative institutions and public sector undertakings were not paid salaries for months, Narayanasamy alleged Bedi had ordered that the funds earmarked for these undertakings be disbursed to settle the PF and ESIC dues.

'She did not agree with the Cabinet to pay the salaries to employees. Again, she was responsible for the non-payment of wages,' he said.

Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily and in-charge of party affairs in the union territory in the context of coming polls, who was also present, said the party here was unfazed by the defections to the BJP.

Moily, who on Sunday attended the executive committee meeting of the Puducherry Congress unit, was referring to former Minister A Namassivayam and Congress MLA A Theeppainthan from the UT joining the BJP recently.

He accused the BJP of poaching opposition leaders to establish its regime in various states after coming to power at the Centre in 2014.

In around 10 states, the BJP had resorted to poaching, he said. PTI CORR NVG VS VS