Welfare Minister M Kandasamy Saturday charged Lt Governor Kiran Bedi of “functioning with an ulterior motive to discredit the Congress government in the Union Territory” by adopting a negative stand on various issues. Addressing reporters in Puducherry along with K Lakshminarayanan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister, Kandasamy said “the constant criticism and unbridled comments Bedi has been making through her Twitter account against the government shows that she was inclined to discredit the government and also officials on various administrative matters.”
On the recent criticism by the Lt Governor about default of Provident Fund remittances to the accounts of employees and workers by public sector undertakings and cooperative societies, he said, it was a clear case of diverting attention of people and disrupting smooth administration. Lakshminarayanan said default of PF remittances had taken place during the previous regimes.
He said almost all the PSUs and cooperative societies in Puducherry were loss-making units and the government had been providing grants from time to time to enable them pay salaries and wages. Payment of PF fund is the legal obligation of managements and is an issue between them and the EPFO and the government has no role at all, he said. Kandasamy, who is also in charge of Labour Ministry, said he would direct the Labour Commissioner to issue a letter to all companies and undertakings in Puducherry to remit the EPF of workers from their own resources.
He said the Lt Governor should work in tandem with the government instead of adopting a negative and non-cooperative stand. Bedi has been at loggerheads with the government almost from the day she assumed office in May last year. The turf war intensified recently after a Municipal Commissioner was transferred and kept under compulsory wait through an order of the Chief Secretary on March 30.
The order was issued in compliance with the ruling of the Speaker in the assembly that day after representations from MLAs of ruling Congress and opposition against the officer. Bedi who was out of station then, had described the order as invalid and that she was the competent authority in all service matters of officers and asked the Commissioner to resume office on April 3. However after doing so, he faced the charge of contempt of the House as the Speaker’s order directing his replacement and to keep him under wait was in force.
Chief Minister V Narayanasamy had endorsed the ruling. A joint meeting of political parties, convened by ruling Congress, had earlier adopted a resolution taking exception to Bedi’s ‘style of functioning’. It also decided that an all party delegation leave for Delhi to bring the situation to the notice of the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister. No date was finalised for the visit.