Kiran Bedi removed as Puducherry L-G: Rashtrapati Bhavan
Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi was on Tuesday evening removed from her post, according to a press communique by the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has been given the additional charge as Puducherry L-G. The announcement comes after Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy urged the Centre to recall Bedi, claiming she was "autocratic" and interfering with the administration. Here are more details.
"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 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 ruling Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance (SDA) had on February 10 submitted a memorandum to President Kovind asking him to recall Bedi. Last month, the SDA had staged a four-day agitation in Puducherry starting January 8. It had also staged a day-long hunger strike on February 5. Incidentally, on Tuesday, Narayanasamy's government lost its majority in the UT Assembly.
The Indian National Congress-led government in Puducherry is now in minority with the resignation of lawmaker A John Kumar on Tuesday. Kumar resigned from his post citing "dissatisfaction with the Congress government." Kumar's resignation comes just a day after Puducherry Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao had resigned as an MLA. He had previously resigned from his ministerial post.
In January, Congress lawmakers A Namassivayam and E Theepainthan had also resigned and joined the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Another Congress lawmaker, N Dhanavelu, was disqualified in July for anti-party activities.
The Congress had won the 2016 Puducherry election, bagging 15 seats in the 30-seat Assembly. It also had the support of three Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam lawmakers and independent legislator N Ramachandran. The party's strength in the Assembly has now dropped to 10. Meanwhile, the Opposition All India NR Congress, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and BJP have seven, four, and three seats respectively.
Gandhi, the former Congress party chief, is set to visit Puducherry on Wednesday to kick-start the party's poll campaign. Gandhi is scheduled to address fishermen in Solai Nagar in the Muthialpet Assembly constituency and later interact with students of the Bharathidasan Government College for women. The UT is set to go to poll in April-May later this year.
The Congress will contest alongside parties constituting the SDA, including the DMK, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has said. Notably, the party—which has been losing support since its embarrassing defeat in the 2019 general elections—has already lost power in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.