The battle between Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and Lt Governor Kiran Bedi showed no signs of an ending on Sunday with both of them dashing off letters to each other and imposing pre-conditions for their scheduled meeting which was cancelled at the last minute.
Sunday also saw Narayanasamy receiving support from DMK president M K Stalin and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, who met him personally outside the Raj Nivas where the chief minister has been holding a dharna for the past five days.
Stalin and Thirumavalavan demanded that the Centre immediately recall Bedi alleging that she has been "autocratically" impeding implementation of welfare schemes evolved by the elected government in Puducherry.
Bedi, who cut short her visit to Delhi and returned to Puducherry on Sunday, invited Narayanasamy for a meeting at 6 pm, but the chief minister imposed a few conditions at the last-minute leading to cancellation of the appointment.
“HCM lays down conditions of accepting d invitation to attend any discussions. Such as: where we must meet, how should the meeting be conducted, who & who not must be present. His reasons for continuing the agitation is obviously for reasons other than what he’s claiming. Matter over,” Bedi tweeted.
After the meeting was cancelled, Narayanasamy declared that his protest would continue, and he will not budge from his stand.
Monday would be interesting since Bedi’s bete noire and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is expected to visit Puducherry and express support to Narayanasamy.
The latest showdown between the top functionaries of the Union Territory was on mandatory helmets.
Though the government wanted the rule to be implemented in phases after creating awareness among the public, the L-G went ahead with it and was even seen enforcing the rule by stopping people on two-wheelers and asking them to wear the safety gear on major roads in the city.
Narayanasamy has accused Bedi of interfering in issues like distribution of free rice, recruitment of teachers and payment of salaries to teachers working in aided schools.
The two have been sparring over several issues— the L-G says she has absolute rights over administration of the UT, while the chief minister says only the elected government has been vested with the powers.