Puducherry welfare minister holds dharna in front of Raj Nivas demanding COVID-19 relief
The dharna was withdrawn after the CM came to the spot and asked the minister and legislators to call off their stir as Section 144 was in force and agitation during the lockdown was not permitted
PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry welfare minister M Kandasamy sat on a dharna in front of Raj Nivas after opposition MLAs led by the AIADMK staged a dharna in the Legislative Assembly, all demanding provision of free rice and dal for poor families holding APL ration cards.
Along with government whip R K R Anantharaman and Congress MLAs T Jayamurthy and V Vizeaveny, Kandasamy who is also holding the civil supplies and consumer affairs portfolio urged the Union government to release COVID-19 assistance to Puducherry considering its dire financial situation.
They also demanded that the Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi give immediate approval to the government's proposal to provide free rice to APL ration card holders. A Rs 3 crores proposal for providing rice and dal to APL families (except government employees and income tax assesses) has been moved to the government for approval a week back, but there has been no response yet, they said.
The dharna was withdrawn after chief minister V Narayanasamy came to the spot and asked the minister and legislators to call off their stir as Section 144 was in force and agitation during the lockdown is not permitted.
Earlier in the day, the opposition AIADMK legislators along with NR Congress and BJP MLAs resorted to a dharna inside the legislative assembly premises, demanding immediate provision of free rice and dal to families holding APL ration cards similar to that provided to BPL card holders, as assistance during the lockdown period.
Three AIADMK Legislators A Anbazhagan, A Bhaskar and Vayyapuri Manikandan sat on the steps leading to the assembly hall and resorted to a dharna. They were subsequently joined by NR Congress MLAs T P R Selvam, N S Jayabal and Sungumaran and BJP MLA V Saminathan.
They locked up the gates of the legislative assembly and sat near the gates, before the strong sun forced them into the lobby of the assembly. The Speaker V P Sivakozhunthu held talks with them.
The dharna was finally withdrawn after Chief Minister invited them to his chamber and discussed the issue.