A demand for recalling Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi was made today at a day-long fast held here by several Dalit outfits protesting her style of functioning with Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy saying this was only the beginning and hinting at more such stirs. "The voice of protest raised against Kiran Bedi should reach the Prime minister," he said addressing the dawn-to-dusk fast organised by the Confederation of Dalit outfits headed by a senior ruling Congress functionary. The protesters under the leadership of the confederation Chairman and Vice-President of Puducherry Pradesh Congress Committee Neela Gangadharan urged the Centre to recall Bedi, accusing her of 'disrupting' the routine functioning of the government. They also alleged that Bedi was crippling implementation of welfare schemes particularly those meant for the depressed and marginalised sections. Narayanasamy, whose government is locked in a war of words with Bedi on several issues ranging from medical admissions to civic problems, said he totally agreed with the demand by the Dalit outfits for her recall and added more such agitations might follow. Apparently referring to Bedi writing to the National Commission of Scheduled Castes on a complaint which alleged wastage of funds by implementing a high mast lamps, he said the scheme was meant to meet the requirements of the Dalits. Although the Lt Governor could refer matters to the CBI or Central Vigilance Commission for probe, she should adhere to the procedural practice and take steps through proper channel, he said. "We are not scared of investigations by any agencies," the chief minister added. Besides Narayanasamy, Ministers A Namassivayam, M Kandasamy and R Kamalakannan, Congress MLAs, DMK convenor R Siva, leaders of the CPI, CPI (M) and the VCK were among those who spoke criticising the Lt Governor's "negative approach" to the "disadvantage" of the depressed sections of people. In a related development, opposition AINRC today voiced concern over the continuing tussle between Bedi and the government. AINRC Lok Sabha member R Radhakrishnan in a release appealed to the Lt Governor and the Chief Minister to function in tandem and and relieve the administration of all the "deficiencies for a prosperous Puducherry." Bedi, a former IPS officer who was appointed Lt Governor of Puducherry last year, had crossed swords with the Congress regime on various issues, with the latter accusing her of "autocratic functioning" and impeding the functioning of the elected the government. Welfare Minister Kandasamy had already announced that he would stage a fast in front of Parliament in the next two months to condemn the Centre's 'silence' on demands for reigning her.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)