Puducherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi was removed from her post on Tuesday night amid a political crisis in the Union territory after the resignation of several Congress leaders from the V Narayanasamy government and just ahead of the assembly elections in April-May this year.
“The President has directed that Dr. Kiran Bedi shall cease to hold the office of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry and has appointed Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Governor of Telangana, to discharge the functions of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry, in addition to her own duties, with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office, until regular arrangements for the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry are made,” the communique from the President’s office said.
Bedi’s removal came a few days after a delegation led by Narayanasamy called on President Ram Nath Kovind and submitted a memorandum urging him to recall Bedi.
The delegation accused Bedi of acting in a “typical autocratic manner in violation of constitutional provisions and rule of law” and interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government and blocking all welfare and development schemes. Relations between the two had turned so acrimonious that they took their disagreements to public fora on several occasions.
Bedi and the congress government have been at loggerheads over several issues ever since she assumed office on May 29, 2016. Narayanasamy charged Bedi with failing to redelegate the enhanced financial powers to the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues even after the home ministry’s directive.
The direction from the President comes amid the political crisis where the ruling Congress-led government has been reduced to a minority after one more MLA quit the party on Tuesday.
The President’s order also comes on a day the government led by Congress’ Narayanasamy, who has been at loggerheads with Bedi over a range of issues, was reduce to a minority after the resignation of legislator A John Kumar. He is the fourth Congress legislator to have quit over the last month. Kumar’s resignation came a day after health minister Malladi Krishna Rao also quit.
Ministers A Namassivayam and E Theepaindan had resigned in January and joined the BJP. Another Congress MLA, N Dhanavelu, was disqualified in July last year for anti-party activities.The strength of the Congress in the 33-member assembly has decreased to 10, including the Speaker. Its ally the DMK has three members and an Independent also supports the government. The opposition has 14 MLAs.The opposition has demanded the resignation of Narayanasamy, saying his government was in minority. Narayanasamy, on his part, has rejected the demand, claiming that his government continue to enjoy minority in the assembly.