Politics

Puducherry Assembly Passes Resolution to Limit Powers of LG Kiran Bedi

The elected Congress government has alleged that Bedi interferes in the political functioning of the UT, disrupting daily functioning.

Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi. Credit: PTI

Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi. Credit: PTI

Puducherry: The Puducherry assembly on Friday (June 16) passed a resolution for absolute powers to the elected government led by chief minister V. Narayanasamy to check the style of functioning of lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi.

The passage of the resolution, which in effect seeks to curb the powers of the lieutenant governor, was preceded by noisy protests by two opposition AINRC members who came to the defence of Bedi and were later suspended for disrupting the proceedings.

Narayanaswamy took strong exception to Bedi making field visits, calling meetings of officials at the Raj Nivas, holding meetings through video conferencing and sending communications through social media.

Claiming that the lieutenant governor had no powers to take any decision arbitrarily, the chief minister said she should act in “consultation and concurrence” with the elected ministry.

Bedi, who assumed office in May last year, has been involved in tussles with the Congress government on a host of issues. She has been asserting that being the administrator of the union territory, she had the powers over administrative matters.

Last year, the former IPS officer had even threatened to quit her post and leave over non cooperation by officials.

The resolution urged the Centre to bring amendments to the Government of Union Territories Act 1963 so that only the elected government in the UT was vested with full powers on administrative matters so that it could look after the welfare of the people.

Initially moved as a private member’s resolution by AIADMK AMMA MLA A. Anbalagan, it was later converted to a government-sponsored one and declared passed unanimously by speaker V. Vaithilingam.

Pressing for absolute powers to the government, Narayanasamy referred to the provisions in the constitution and also the various legislations relating to administration and conduct of business in Puducherry.

He said Puducherry was different from other union territories like Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep as it has an elected legislature.

Earlier, tabling the resolution, Anbalagan said the tug of war between the governor and the government was affecting implementation of various welfare schemes.

Ruling Congress member R.K.R Anandaraman accused Bedi of making “unnecessary and objectionable intervention” in the daily administration.

“Bedi seems to be functioning more autocratically than Hitler had done,” he said and charged her with functioning with an “ulterior motive to tarnish the image of the Congress government.”

At this stage, AINRC members Ashok Anand and N.S.J Jayabal, who literally barged into the house, contradicted the criticism of Bedi.

Raising the issue of post-graduate medical admission, in which Bedi had recently intervened, they pointed to Friday’s Madras high court order which was favourable to students.

Anand attacked the the government for “letting down” the students in the admission issue, a charge denied by the chief minister later.

As the speaker ordered his mike to be switched off, Anand rushed out, returned with a megaphone and continued his criticism of the government.

The assembly marshals, on a directive from the speaker, snatched the megaphone from Anand.

As the speaker ordered their suspension for the day, Anand threw all papers he had with him in the well of the house and walked out, accompanied by his party colleague.

The speaker ordered that the two AINRC members should not hold any meeting with mediapersons on the assembly premises.

Narayanaswamy disputed the criticisms of the AINRC MLAs, saying it was his government which had secured 50% post-graduate seats in private medical colleges for the government quota.

The speaker adjourned the house sine die, bringing to a close the 23-day budget session during which Bedi’s style of functioning came under criticism on many occasions.