A day after Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi said she has the powers to overlook the legislature and that she is the final power in finance and service affairs of the state, Puducherry Congress chief A Namasivayam said Bedi cannot enjoy final power when there is an elected government in place. “Before making such comments, she should remember that there is no President’s Rule in Puducherry,” Namasivayam, a senior minister in the Cabinet, said.
In an interview to The Indian Express, Bedi said she could choose to overlook the legislature depending on the circumstances, and that she would have a say in the budget for the coming year.
Reacting to her claim, Namasivayam, the number two in the state Cabinet, said it is the elected government that is ruling the state. “It is the Assembly that is finalising decisions and approving the state budget. This is a democratic country. Unlike in Delhi, it is the CM who holds the home ministry here. Unlike in Delhi, land, finance and police are governed by the elected government in Puducherry. Why are we sitting here if the Lt Governor thinks she is the final power and the administrator?” he said.
“We have been avoiding direct clashes with the Lt Governor. The CM and the Cabinet have had three meetings with Bedi to discuss these issues… She wanted to become CM of Delhi, but the people denied her that chance. By grabbing the post of Lt Governor, she is trying to become the Super CM of Puducherry,” Namasivayam said.
“The rule book refers to the Lt Governor as an administrator in one of the portions. If she is going to grab complete powers from an elected government citing that word, why are we sitting here?… Why do we have a CM at all?” he said. He said all MLAs and political parties, except the BJP, had condemned her “autocratic attitude”.
All the Congress MLAs in Puducherry have written to the Centre, saying Bedi’s conduct was unbecoming of a constitutional authority, and asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to direct the Lt Governor to act in conformity with the decisions taken by the elected government.
The CPI, meanwhile, demanded that the Centre amend the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, in the wake of Bedi’s controversial decisions.
CPI state secretary R Viswanathan said it was a matter of concern that Bedi was claiming more powers in finance and service matters in the UT. “This is unacceptable. The Centre should intervene in this tussle between the elected government and Lt Governor,” he said.