Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Sunday said that Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory, was not allowing the elected government to function by interfering in the day-to-day administration, reported ANI. Narayanasamy has been holding a sit-in protest for three days now, demanding Bedi’s removal from the post.
Narayanasamy, who heads the Secular Democratic Front alliance government in Puducherry has been joined in the protest by several of his colleagues from the Congress party, his Cabinet, as well as MLAs from the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist). The protestors have been camping at the Anna Salai area in Puducherry, about a kilometre from Bedi’s residence, after they were denied permission to sit near the Raj Nivas, NDTV reported.
On Sunday, some protesters were seen holding a placard that read “BEDI You go! You go!!”. Narayanasamy was himself seen carrying a placard that read “Go Back Bedi”.
The chief minister said that the demand to recall Bedi was not a new one, but he hit the streets now as she was overreaching her powers more than ever before.
“She is now returning files, overruling the decision of the Cabinet, overruling the decision of the minister,” Narayanasamy told NDTV. “This is not the job of the Lieutenant Governor, she has no independent power or authority. She has no respect for law or Constitution. She [acts like] is the Constitution herself.”
He cited an example, where the government had decided to give Rs 1,000 to people as a gift on the occasion of Pongal, but a disbursal of only Rs 200 was allowed.
Narayanasamy added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not paying heed to his demand as a Congress-led government was in power in Puducherry. “The prime minister is not taking any step because it is a Congress-DMK [Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam] government here,” he said, according to NDTV. “So, we are agitating in a peaceful manner. She [Bedi] is afraid of facing us. When we sat on a dharna in 2019, she ran away to Delhi.”
In February 2019, the chief minister and his Cabinet colleagues had held a protest against Bedi demanding reopening of closed industries and public sector undertakings and smooth operation of a free rice distribution scheme, according to the Hindustan Times.
Narayanasamy has had frequent run-ins with Bedi since she was appointed the lieutenant governor of Puducherry in 2016. However, this protest hold significance in the lead up elections in the Union Territory in May.