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Pondy CM, ministers stage walkout from Planning Board meeting over exclusion of Oppn leaders

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 6, 2019  | 18:30 IST

Puducherry, Jul 6 (PTI) Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and his ministers staged a walkout from a Planning Board meeting Saturday to protest Lt Governor Kiran Bedi's "failure" to include leaders of legislature wings of DMK, AIADMK and BJP as board members. The Planning Board will finalise the draft plan of the Union Territory, projecting the financial requirements of every department. It would then be forwarded to the Centre for sanction of the projected amount for the fiscal 2019-2020. Minutes after commencement of the meeting, which was chaired by Bedi, Narayanasamy protested against her for not including the leaders of the legislature wings of the DMK, the AIADMK and the BJP and walked out. He was accompanied by his ministers. The chief minister claimed he had not received any reply to a letter he had written to Bedi on Friday, making a strong case against exclusion of legislature wing leaders of the three parties from the board. Narayanasamy said the legislators of these parties have been invited to the board's meetings in the past. "We wanted the meeting to be put off and reconvened after including the legislators of the Opposition," he said. Speaking to reporters, Congress MP Vaithilingam said he had made it clear to Bedi at the start of the meeting that as the board chairman she should include MLAs of opposition parties and ensure their participation in the deliberations. "We staged a walkout from the meeting today to show our protest," he said. AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP N Gokulakrishnan also protested against Bedi during the meeting. "This is not a correct practice and to show my protest against the lapse I staged a walkout from the meeting," he later told reporters. Emerging from the venue, Bedi said she had no objection to co-opting any legislators. "The file for co-opting the members should be presented to the secretary (planning) and then to the chief secretary before it comes to me," she said. Noting that the procedure was not adopted earlier, she said "Now I have no objection to any member being co-opted as it is the legislators who would know what is needed and what is not." There was confusion in the past on the structure of the board as some MLAs were included as members at one time and not included on other occasions, Bedi said, adding that proper procedure be adopted for including the legislators in the board. Bedi said the meeting was rescheduled for July 13 for preparation of the draft plan. PTI CORR ROH DIV DIV

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