PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Wednesday called on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan and urged him to recall Lt Governor Kiran Bedi to “save democracy and federalism” in the Union territory.
In a memorandum submitted to the President, in the presence of ministers Malladi Krishna Rao and M Kandasamy and Lok Sabha member V Vaithilingam, Narayanasamy said, "Kiran Bedi is unilaterally deciding in administrative matters, financial matters and policy matters totally in violation of Rules of Business of Government of Puducherry, 1963 and Constitutional principles."
She has been functioning as a typical autocrat in violation of constitutional provisions and rule of law, alleged Narayanasamy, adding that she is 'burying' democratic institutions.
In spite of cabinet decisions and specific directions by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to redelegate the enhanced financial powers to Chief Minister, ministers, Cabinet, the delegation of enhanced financial power was arbitrarily obstructed and denied without any authority by Bedi, said the CM. This has resulted in Bedi grabbing the entire financial powers of grant-in aid, he alleged.
“Though we have insisted on redelegation of financial powers, the autocratic nature of Dr. Kiran Bedi is stopping the same,” alleged Narayanasamy. The very mantra of "less government, more governance" has been ruthlessly murdered by the “megalomaniac approach” of Bedi, he said.
Bedi is arbitrarily laying conditions in all welfare schemes without following any rules. This badly affects the implementation of welfare schemes and thereby many poor people are left without benefits from the government, said the CM. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, Bedi obstructed the distribution of free rice to the poor and insisted on the DBT method, when all the shops remained closed and the movement of people was restricted, he said. After a long struggle, the government issued orders for free rice to the public, but Bedi interfered in the distribution by insisting on transportation of the rice by officials on mini bus and distribution by teachers and other government officials who are inexperienced thereby resulting in delayed distribution, he added.
Many cabinet decisions have either been delayed or modified by Bedi, totally in violation of constitutional provisions, said the CM. Among them are implementation of Universal Health Scheme, distribution of mobile tablets to provide e-learning education in view of pandemic situation, providing 50 percent reservation in private medical colleges in tune with central government policy, providing 10 percent reservation to NEET passed government school students, grant of enhanced pension to fishermen, construction of Flood Bank Scheme in Yanam to protect the lives and property from the flood, transfer of SEZ land for industrial development and distribution of free rice scheme, he said.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Bedi kept herself confined to Raj Nivas, without meeting the elected representatives, but she has been unilaterally issuing directions orally to the Secretaries and Chief Secretary, police and other officers to fall in line with her as well as issuing transfer and posting orders without the knowledge of the elected government, said the Chief Minister.
Bedi made the Raj Nivas into an iron fort so that no public or elected representatives could go even on the peripheral road adjoining Raj Nivas and deployed a large number of Central armed paramilitary forces (CAPF). The presence of large numbers of CAPF personnel in the white town area has created panic among the public and tourists whereby the inflow of tourists got reduced affecting the revenue of Puducherry, he said.
Even during the French regime, elected representatives were not treated in such a way, but were respected, said Narayanasamy.
Stating that it is brutal murder of democracy, he urged the President, being the custodian for the Constitution of India, to intervene and save the federal system by removing Bedi from the post.