Puducherry Congress and allies begin protest urging recall of Lt Guv Kiran Bedi

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The ruling Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance (SDA) in Puducherry, on Friday, began its four-day long agitation here demanding recall of Lt Governor Kiran Bedi for allegedly "impeding developmental plans and welfare measures of the elected government."

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, the lone Lok Sabha Member from Puducherry V Vaithilingam, Congress legislator T Jayamoorthy, leaders of the CPI, CPI(M) and VCK also participated in the protest.

Although the SDA had earlier decided to hold the agitation by picketing Raj Nivas (office-cum-residence of the Lt Governor), the venue was shifted to Maraimalai Adigal Salai (more than a km away) as police did not give permission in view of an order in force restricting agitations within 500 metres of Raj Nivas and the Assembly. Leaders and workers of the DMK, an ally of the ruling Congress were not present at the agitation and reason for their absence could not be known immediately.

The Centre had already deployed the Central Armed Police Force and the Central Industrial Security Force personnel at vantage points here to maintain law and order. Although the Chief Minister was claiming that the agitation would continue "till Kiran Bedi left Puducherry", the duration of the stir has been reduced to four days.

This is the second time that such an agitation against Bedi is being held herewith the Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues and leaders of the alliance parties taking part. The earlier stir was held in February 2019 to push the demands for reopening of the closed industries and public sector undertakings and also for smooth operation of the free rice scheme.

The present stir is limited to the demand that Bedi be recalled, sources in the Congress said. Narayanasamy and the others earlier garlanded statues of leaders including former Chief Minister V Venkatasubba Reddiar before arriving at the protest venue.