Stepping up its attack on Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, members of ruling Congress and ally DMK on Tuesday demanded that the Centre to recall her for her alleged ‘dictatorial’ style of functioning, bypassing the elected legislature.
The issue of strained relations between Bedi and the Narayansamy ministry dominated the proceedings of Puducherry assembly on the opening day of the session, which also saw a walkout by Opposition AINRC, which charged the government with being non-functional.
The issue was raised by AIADMK members, but chief minister V Narayanasamy and speaker V Vaithlingam urged them to refrain from commenting on the Lt Governor, who is the union territory administrator and it would violate rules of the House.
But government whip RKR Anandaraman and parliamentary secretary to chief minister K Lakshminarayanan asked how MLAs can keep quiet when Bedi ‘insults’ the elected government.
Anandaraman alleged she was Tweeting on the legislature, thereby ‘insulting’ the ministry and demanded that she be recalled. He also alleged most schemes could not be implemented because of ‘obstacles’ she was putting forth.
Lakshminarayanan said in a democracy Parliament is supreme and Bedi was functioning with ‘scant respect’ to the rights and privileges of elected government and its members.
Another Congress member T Jayamoorthy charged Bedi with being ‘anti-people’ and suggested that all legislators observe a fast to ensure that the Lt Governor is recalled.
DMK’s R Siva said the Lt Governor was functioning like an autocrat and visiting areas without apprising MLAs concerned.
After his repeated appeals to the MLAs to refrain from speaking about Lt Governor fell on deaf ears, the Speaker suggested they bring in a motion on the matter, instead of making personal criticisms against her.
The chief minister intervened to say the Government of Union Territories Act and Rules of Business had demarcated powers to the Lt Governor and elected ministry. But Rule 25 had to be revisited so that there should be no room for misunderstanding of administrative powers.
AIADMK members Anbalagan, S A Baskar, K A U Asana and Vayyapuri Manikandan assailed Bedi for ‘intervening’ in the working of the ministry.
The House later adopted a government resolution, seeking central aid to tackle Rs 100 crore crop damage due to drought.
Bedi and the Congress government have been at loggerheads over her style of functioning. Recently eight Cong MLAs had petitioned the union home minister to rein her.
Bedi had recently issued an ‘open letter’ to the people explaining her intention to keep the administration in fine Imettle.