A day after the Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi was removed as L-G by Presidential order, Ms. Bedi on Wednesday said, “Whatever work done was a sacred duty fulfilling her constitutional and moral responsibilities.” The 71-year-old former IPS official also thanked the people who worked with her closely.
Ms. Bedi tweeted, “Thank all those who were a part of my journey as Lt Governor of Puducherry-The People of Puducherry and all the Public officials,” along with her official statement. She added, “I thank the Government of India for a life time experience in serving Puducherry, as its Lt Governor,” she said. “TeamRajNivas” worked diligently to serve larger public interest.”
Thank all those who were a part my journey as Lt Governor of Puducherry—
The People of Puducherry and all the Public officials. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/ckvwJ694qq
— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) February 17, 2021
Earlier, on Tuesday, a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan directed to Ms. Bedi said, “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.”
Ms. Bedi was working round the clock as the Puducherry Lieutenant-Governor till Tuesday. She was working towards reviewing the COVID-19 vaccination drive in her Union Territory. She also issued directions to the local police force and frontline workers for the ongoing inoculation drive.
Ms. Bedi’s removal comes as not a big surprise as V Narayanasamy, Puducherry CM had been at loggerheads with her and demanded her removal. Narayanasamy alleged that Ms. Bedi was not allowing the Puducherry elected government to function by interfering in the day-to-day administration. Her alleged style of governance triggered two protests by the CM- the first-of-its-kind dharna in front of Raj Nivas in February 2019, and a 3-day-round-the-clock sit-in protest in January this year.
Meanwhile, CM Narayanasamy welcomed her removal from her L-G position and called the move a “victory for the people.”
The removal of Ms. Bedi comes at a crucial point of political crisis where the currently ruling Congress has been reduced to a minority after another MLA quit the party in Puducherry. After the resignation, the government and opposition are both at 14 members and Congress has 10 members. This leaves the Narayanasamy government one short of the majority mark.
However, the Narayanasamy is in denial and told NDTV, “Our government is not in the minority. It is public knowledge… people are saying this MLA and that minister has been purchased…” He also accused the BJP of executing another “Operation Kamal (lotus).”
The discord between Ms. Bedi and Narayanasamy came out of the pandora’s box in January 2017 when the Lt. Governor and the CM were in conflict. In January 2017, Ms. Bedi and Narayanasamy clashed over the suspension of a Puducherry Civil Services official for sharing obscenity on a WhatsApp Group. She directed the police to book a case against the official under section 67A of the Information Technology Act.
Narayanasamy complained to the then Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and accused her of adopting a “whimsical and dictatorial” style of running her administration. These clashes presented themselves as a sign of what was to come.