Puducherry: Congress cries foul as L-G Kiran Bedi nominates 3 BJP leaders as MLAs
Nominations are generally reserved for minority communities, who do not find representation in the assembly. Bedi’s decision to swear in MLAs from the majority Hindu community has drawn flak.Updated: Jul 05, 2017 20:17 IST
Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi has again run into a collision course with the elected government of Congress’s V Narayansamy by nominating three BJP-affiliated persons as MLAs and swearing them in on Tuesday.
While the ruling Congress moved the Madras high court accusing the L-G of bypassing the elected government, besides claiming illegality, Bedi said the nominations were valid as per the Union Territories Act. The court has sought a response from the government on its stance within a week.
Two of the nominated MLAs are BJP’s Puducherry president and treasurer, V Swaminathan and K G Shankar, the third is S Selvaganapthy, an educationist considered close to the BJP.
Kiran Bedi defended her decision, stating that as per Union Territories Act notified by the Union home ministry, the oath is and can be administered by the administrator. Hence the nomination and oath are valid under the UT Act, she said.
Narayansamy alleged that there were criminal cases against two of the MLAs and also that governor cannot nominate MLAs without consulting the elected government.
“The Lt Governor does not have the authority to swear in the MLAs and administer oath of office and secrecy to the nominated MLAs. This power is wrested with the assembly speaker,” he said.
The chief minister is reportedly visiting Delhi to meet the President over the issue.
The Congress termed Bedi a “habitual offender in undermining the institution of the Governor and using them as political tool to subvert and subjugate the will of people and every established tenet of democracy”.
“Truth is that BJP appointees to the office of Governor are becoming chief conspirators and propagandists to carry forward the agenda of destroying democracy instead of protecting the Constitution,” party spokesperson Sushmita Dev said.
‘Minorities Ignored, Hindus Nominated’
Nominations to the assembly are done to ensure minorities, who cannot find representation otherwise, can find a place in the assembly and raise the issues concerning them.
In Puducherry, Christians, constituting 6% of the population, claim this benefit.
However, the Lt Governor’s decision to swear in three MLAs from the majority Hindu community has drawn flak from the Congress.
One of its senior leaders said conventions have been given a go-by and also highlighted that the nominated MLAs have cases against them.
The new MLAs rubbished the allegations, saying false cases were foisted on them, which they will fight legally.
A Congress leader noted that the fishing community is not adequately represented in the assembly and mooted for nomination of members from the community.
DMK, CPM and VCK have given a call for Puducherry bandh on July 8 to register a protest, and are likely to be supported by the Congress.
Posters condemning Bedi have sprung up all over the Union territory.