Puducherry: The State Planning Board (SPB) meeting convened on Saturday to finalise the draft annual plan for the current fiscal abruptly ended after the Cabinet, led by Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, staged a walkout over the “reluctance” of Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi to allow floor leaders of Opposition parties to participate in the deliberations.
As soon as the meeting began under the chairmanship of the Lt. Governor at the Chief Secretariat, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) N. Gokulakrishnan expressed his unhappiness over the way it had been convened without inviting the Opposition leaders. “I am attending the meeting though there was no invite. The Opposition leaders should have been allowed to participate in the deliberations,” he reportedly said at the meeting. Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) V. Vaithilingam too spoke in support for the demand to invite Opposition leaders.
The Chief Minister told reporters that on Friday he wrote to the Lt. Governor about the government’s intention to invite floor leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the State Planning Board meeting. But the Lt. Governor did not give her consent. The members of Opposition parties had attended the 2017-18 plan meeting, he recalled.
“We walked out of the meeting asking the Lt Governor to re-convene the SPB. We hope the Opposition party leaders will also be invited,” he said.