Kiran Bedi says need not consult Cabinet, will have a say in Budget

In the interview, she added that “the imbalance” in allocation of money for urban and rural areas had left her disturbed.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Published:January 10, 2017 4:39 am
Kiran Bedi, Puducherry Lt Governor, kiran bedi resignation, budget, kiran bedi budget, budget 2017, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, money allocation, indian express news, india news Kiran Bedi with V Narayanasamy. File photo

ASSERTING that the powers of a lieutenant governor of a Union territory are different from that of a state, Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi has said that she could choose to overlook the Legislature depending on circumstances, and that she would have a say in the Budget for the coming year.

Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone from Puducherry, Bedi said, “While I have the power of an administrator and I hold the responsibility of finance and public services, they (the chief minister and MLAs) only have legislative powers. Let me make it clear. The rule that we follow is clear: I may or may not consult with the Legislature, depending on how compelling are the circumstances. That allowed me to suspend a senior official after he posted a porn video on an official WhatsApp group.”

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In the interview, she added that “the imbalance” in allocation of money for urban and rural areas had left her disturbed. “Which government wants to spend money on rural cleanliness, sanitation, roads and electricity? Also, the municipal budget is small. I am going to correct all these mistakes in the new budget.”

Bedi and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, who heads the Congress government in the state, have had a series of run-ins since she was appointed in May last year. Last week, she scrapped an order by Narayanasamy that barred government officials from using the social media for official purposes.

Denying that this was overreach on her part, the Lt Governor said, “The media and those who called me a dictator should read the rules. Unlike a state governor, an LG of a UT is also an administrator. I have final powers in crucial areas, including finance, public services and policy matters. When these crucial powers rest with me, I am not planning to run my office as a post-office. I will neither sit idle nor allow anyone to violate the rules.”

On her order cancelling Narayanasamy’s decision regarding social media, Bedi said, “As I told you, the services are completely with me. If the CM is contradicting the rules, it is my duty (to stop it)… That is what happened on his order banning social media.”

Narayanasamy had earlier too expressed unhappiness over the use of social media for official purposes. In July, he had called a meeting of senior officials to tell them that they shouldn’t bypass ministers, after Bedi started directly communicating with them over 20-odd WhatsApp groups.

However, that hasn’t deterred the Lt Governor. Outspoken on Twitter over her disagreements with Narayanasamy, she often tags the official handle of the Prime Minister’s Office.

A day after she scrapped the CM’s order, she wrote, “When a leader wants things done he will promote shared info. When he wants control & dependence he will ensure they r kept divided/deprived.”

On Sunday, she took a dig at Narayanasamy again for citing national security issues to curb the use of social media by officials, quoting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Bedi tweeted: “This may be a cause of serious security concern to CM Pondicherry?… We are adopting a new pattern here. Pl tweet your problem to the concerned Indian Embassy/authority and endorse the same to @sushmaswaraj.”

The Lt Governor said Narayanasamy’s stand that sharing official information over social media with servers abroad could endanger security doesn’t hold water. “What is a WhatsApp group? It is nothing but a network. In a government system, people in different departments are strangers although these departments are involved in getting things done. My efforts to use social media have already formed a brilliant group of officials for effective coordination. Even if a department is independent, it has to work with another to clear a file. When there is a medium where we all could meet and talk, that’s the best way to make the system transparent. There is no question of the Official Secrets Act too, because whatever we share on social media — including transfer orders or appointment orders or other communications to resolve public grievances — are all information you can avail through RTI too. We are not dealing with any national security documents.”

Defending her decision to tag the PMO in her tweets, Bedi told The Indian Express, “I am committed to the PMO to make Puducherry Swachh. I am working towards that too.”

She had been making surprise visits to villages and markets as part of this effort, Bedi said. The visits too have been questioned for encroaching on the powers of the government. It was wrong to call these visits “proactive”, Bedi said, as it was “my responsibility”. “I cannot make Puducherry Swachh by sitting idle in the office. Lt Governor is a functioning administrator. Whenever I go for visits, I alert the local MLAs too. Unfortunately, I mostly get the reply that they are busy. Fine, they may be busy. That doesn’t stop me from doing my job.”

Bedi claimed the way the Puducherry government has been run in the recent years forced her to act. “When the state budget has already become a debt trap, how can I be an onlooker here, especially when I am accountable for the money we get from the Centre? For how long will we borrow money to pay interests? These issues are the outcome of Puducherry’s governance in the last 10 years. We are borrowing money to pay salaries.”

She added that she had been getting “a lot of complaints” about corrupt practices, though she didn’t have any evidence. “If I get a solid complaint, I will order an inquiry. If I catch them redhanded, they will be suspended.”

Bedi, who announced on Saturday that she would relinquish office on May 29, 2018, after two years in office, claimed that she had already achieved much success. “If criticisms are on my working style, I am already a success. I an empowering my officials, making them work together. We have a fantastic team now.”

“Of course, I am accountable too,” she added. “I am accountable to the President of India.”

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  1. S
    Sri
    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:11 am
    Finally an able administrator in office. Hope the media supports her but will they?. They seem to have their own agenda...
    Reply
    1. A
      Ash
      Jan 10, 2017 at 7:48 am
      It is a shame people with no real knowledge of consutional law are being appointed to Lt Governor post.After she was routed by AAP in the Delhi elections where BJP was promoting her for CM,BJP decided to get rid of her and gave her current post.BJP is quite OK with taking in turncoats for Elections,votes.lt;br/gt;Bedi would be singing a different tune if she was dealing with BJP instead of Congress .lt;br/gt;These problems have never occurred before when Congress appointed Guvernors were in charge of a state ruled by BJP.
      Reply
      1. S
        Shutdown.india
        Jan 10, 2017 at 1:43 am
        Absolutely no respect for consution. Why the F should anybody follow law in India while such stupids take law into their own interpretation and then an bunch of "K G Balakrishnans" in SC has to say "No what you did is violation of Law" and then without penalizing them heavily to deter those s from doing it again, "we let you free now and and please do it again and we are here to again interpret the consution".lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;70 years of fking interpretation of consution.
        Reply
        1. C
          Chandra Shekar
          Jan 10, 2017 at 8:12 am
          She is an ugly stain on democracy . It appears BJP has lost its way badly.
          Reply
          1. A
            Ash
            Jan 10, 2017 at 4:12 am
            In case it is found that she has violated law, she should be arrested immediately and no questions asked. If some SON OF A BCH asks for presidential approval for prosecuting her, then burn consution. IT CANNOT BE ALWAYS FOR THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT.
            Reply
            1. A
              All.in the
              Jan 10, 2017 at 4:14 am
              ISTANT BUTCHER AMIT SHAH HAS ALL GOVERNORS AT HIS FINGER TIPS.
              Reply
              1. A
                Amit C
                Jan 10, 2017 at 2:02 am
                SC - please decide if we need to conduct elections just to identify defeated ones to run govts.
                Reply
                1. D
                  Deepak Kumar
                  Jan 9, 2017 at 11:23 pm
                  Return to British Raj, accountable to queen ! Perhaps she doesn't realise India is a democracy, accountable to people !
                  Reply
                  1. D
                    Deepak Kumar
                    Jan 9, 2017 at 11:22 pm
                    what a moron, accountable to president of India ! what a joke?
                    Reply
                    1. K
                      kumar
                      Jan 10, 2017 at 7:46 am
                      Ms. Bedi's stand is nothing but utter non-sense. If she is vested with all the powers then why would we even have legislature. This is contrary to the democratic principles on which the country is founded.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        dr harun
                        Jan 10, 2017 at 3:02 am
                        Narayanswamy was arrogant when he defended the UPA during UPA rule as a Minister.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;His arrogance and Pursuit of becoming CM has left a bad taste with Bedi.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;As long as she takes up peoples issues none should have a problem.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;But the obvious is that in Delhi and Pondy ,the elected Govts are made to look helpless and ineffective with LG"'s calling the shots.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Bedi owes her LG to BJP ,Given her taking nasty shots at Kejriwal,no doubt she is doing her bit
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          dr harun
                          Jan 10, 2017 at 10:17 am
                          Ravi,lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I am not saying she is right.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Why bother if peoples issues like water/power and garbage clearence is being looked into.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Yes democratically elected Govt has to be respected,but Given the fact that Bedi is a representative of the BJP and Pondy being a UT.This was coming.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Lets watch if she confines herself to Peoples issues or becomes Openly political.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Anyway Narayanswamy taste of being CM has become Bitter with Bedi around
                          Reply
                          1. V
                            Vinay
                            Jan 10, 2017 at 8:26 am
                            u just did that
                            Reply
                            1. J
                              jamal
                              Jan 10, 2017 at 7:34 am
                              Overrule.
                              Reply
                              1. J
                                jamal
                                Jan 10, 2017 at 7:35 am
                                She is highly publicity savvy.
                                Reply
                                1. B
                                  birendra
                                  Jan 10, 2017 at 1:17 am
                                  she should have joined AAP instead she joined feku 56 party that is why she is talking like feku 56
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    AKB
                                    Jan 10, 2017 at 5:45 am
                                    We should not hold elections in union territories, as it is waste of money, time and energy.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;As the stooges of central govt.,do not allow the elected govt to run.
                                    Reply
                                    1. L
                                      Libral Culture
                                      Jan 10, 2017 at 5:10 am
                                      Shameless Kiran Bedi, shameless BJP. She has a history of misdemeanor, right from the time she got her daughter seat in Lady Harding Medical College in Delhi (which was meant for north-east quota), charging for business cl and buying economy ticket, she was correctly shown place by Delhi voters. BJP is shamelessly try to do backseat driving wherever they lost election.
                                      Reply
                                      1. M
                                        madan gupta
                                        Jan 10, 2017 at 3:41 am
                                        good job, honest person.
                                        Reply
                                        1. M
                                          mahesh
                                          Jan 10, 2017 at 8:43 am
                                          Ask the court and you will get the reply.lt;br/gt;Or read the law.
                                          Reply
                                          1. M
                                            mahesh
                                            Jan 10, 2017 at 8:42 am
                                            Before commenting, people should understand the law about a Union terrirtory. The ultimate authority is the the Lt-Gov, not the Chief Minister. This is in the consution. This law is there from a long time. This law was not brought in by Modi.lt;br/gt;If you are criticising the LG for implementing the Law. you need to check yourself again.
                                            Reply
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