The bitter turf war between Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and Kiran Bedi intensified as the CM pulled an all-nighter outside the Governor’s house over her “autocratic” behaviour. Along with his cabinet colleagues, the CM dressed in black spent the night outside Raj Nivas and slept on a blanket on the road. Bedi, shot back, calling the protest “unlawful”.
While Narayansamy continues his dharna outside Raj Nivas, Bedi left for Chennai Thursday morning to attend an event. Demanding that the Centre recalls Bedi, the CM listed out 39 proposals where the two leaders differ. Launching an attack on the Centre, Narayansamy accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “encouraging Bedi and problems” in the Union Territory.
“She has no power at all, she has to only be a post office and sign papers which have been sent by the council of ministers, she has no right to touch cabinet decisions, she is vetoing decisions,” he told reporters last night, reported news agency ANI.
Day 2, HCM @VNarayanasami , Hon’ble Ministers, MLAs, & other leaders continues the Dharna in front of Raj Nivas against the undemocratic acts & unlawful ways of @LGov_Puducherry @thekiranbedi at #puducherry .@rashtrapatibhvn @PMOIndia @HMOIndia @PTI_News pic.twitter.com/sOod7AoS4l
— CMO Puducherry (@CMPuducherry) February 14, 2019
Before starting the “peaceful protest,” the CM reportedly wrote a letter to Bedi reiterated his demands and requested her to change her style of “undemocratic” governance in the UT. “Kiran Bedi should mend her ways and sanction her approval to our decisions. If she wants, she can contest an election in Puducherry”, the Chief Minister said. He was later joined by Congress and DMK MLAs as well as Puducherry Speaker V Vaithilingam.
In a sharp response to Narayansamy’s dharna, Bedi also wrote a letter to him, terming his protest as ‘unlawful’. “This method (sitting in dharna) is unheard of from a person of your position,” the Lieutenant Governor said in the letter, which was hand-delivered to the chief minister. She also said that all issues listed by the CM needed examination for a ‘considered response’ and claimed that nothing was pending at the Raj Nivas, as alleged. She also invited the CM for a discussion on February 21.
Puducherry CM and Governor at war since 2016
Both the CM and Bedi have been at loggerheads with each other since 2016. Narayanasamy has often accused Bedi of “overreach and interference” in the day-to-day running of the administration and criticised her for issuing orders to government officials without consulting the chief minister or ministers concerned, besides sitting on files relating to farm loan waiver and free education for Dalits.
Bedi’s recent decision to make helmet wearing mandatory in the UT triggered the latest episode. While Bedi wanted the helmet rule for two-wheeler riders to be implemented at one go, Narayanasamy wanted the implementation in phases after generating awareness among the residents.
Other proposals including implementation of the free rice scheme, grants to privately managed educational institutions, the sanction of funds for government undertakings and implementation of various welfare schemes for Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and OBCs were stalled by the Lt Governor, the CM added.