Pondicherry Ministerial Staff Arrested; Lt. Governor Resigns

12 March 2008

A friend of ours, who shall remain nameless, was arrested yesterday, along with up to 150 of his co-workers, for demonstrating without prior permission in front of the Department of Accounts and Treasuries. This friend, who is a clerk in the Chief Secretary’s office, is a member of the “Pondicherry State Unified Ministerial Staff Action Committee.” This group has been on strike since last Thursday – for what I don’t yet know. I hope to be able to communicate with him soon.

While the ministerial staff members were being arrested, opposition party leaders called for the Lt. Governor to intervene in calling the Legislative Assembly into a budget session. The internecine conflicts between the Chief Minister (CM) and the Council of Ministers has led to a power play, with the 5 Ministers refusing to agree to a date set by the CM for the budget session before being apprised of the details of the new budget allocations by department and a report of projects and proposals discussed at the last Cabinet meeting. The appropriations bill passed during the last budget session will expire on 31 March 2008.

Today, the Lt. Governor of Pondicherry, Mukut Mithi, resigned after less than two years in office. (He was sworn in on 19 July 2006.)

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