Amidst the ongoing tussle between the Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and the Union Territory’s Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, the latter reacted to the CM petitioning President Ram Nath Kovind to intervene and recall her from her position. In an exclusive interview to Republic Media Network, Kiran Bedi clarified on a number of key issues relating to the incident. Notably, the Chief Minister had earlier presented a detailed memorandum to the President urging him to remove Kiran Bedi as Lt Governor, stating she has been “impeding” implementation of various welfare measures made by the cabinet.
In the interview, Kiran Bedi reacting to the recent developments explained, “The presence of a sensitive Lt Governor office does not suit the HCM (Hon’ble CM)”. She further added that since the Chief Secretary of Puducherry (Shri. Ashwani Kumari) and along with the Lt Governor’s office are “not facilitating setting up of casinos, lotteries and breweries in Puducherry”, it has led to creating some friction between both the offices. The Lt Governor also explained that while her office wants more accountability and transparency in terms of financial transactions “to prevent transit leakages and pilferages”, the “HCM prefers cash transactions” instead of direct bank transfers.
In response to a question about the CM claiming that her office is trying to run a “parallel government”, she opined, “The Lt Governor’s position is entrusted with clearly laid down general financial powers and legal responsibilities under the UT Act (Government of Union Territories Act, 1963) and the business rules which govern the administration.” However, the HCM has reportedly been challenging these rules despite the fact that the UT Act, business rules and financial powers still remains with her office.
She further quipped, “Our Country is the largest democracy in the world. The will of the people of this great country is represented through the Parliament. The parliament in its wisdom enacted the Government of UTs law while creating legislative assembly also vested power with the Central government to decide on policy matters of UT, was there any difference of opinion between UT Cabinet and the Administrator. The largest democracy decides the policy of its territory on special occasions. How can one term it as anti-democratic?”
Notably, this is not the first time, the CM has made such demands. Earlier, the Congress party in Tamil Nadu had made a similar request to the Centre to urgently recall Kiran Bedi as Lt Governor. Acknowledging the incident, Bedi derided that, “Not supporting them in opening of casinos, facilitating lotteries and spread of breweries on the streets are some of his many needs.” She further expressed angst over how opening of these facilities will equate to development. “Someone needs to ask him that and how does approving these make one a fit Lt Gov?”
When asked about her comments with regards to CAA and what her thoughts are about the Congress party in Puducherry organising a protest rally against the Act, she opined,
“It suits them in their own ways but at the huge inconvenience of tourists and traders at this peak festive business season. I do hope better sense prevails.”