Updated: February 17, 2021 8:19:19 am
On a day the Puducherry government faced a political crisis following resignation of Congress legislators, and in a sudden development late in the evening Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory, Kiran Bedi, was removed from her post, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy speaks with The Indian Express on the Lieutenant Governor, his government, and the upcoming elections:
Kiran Bedi has been removed as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. You had been demanding her removal for long.
The removal of Dr Kiran Bedi has been a long-pending demand of the people of Puducherry, because she was behaving in an autocratic manner (by) violating rules of business. (She was) trying to run a parallel government, making field visits without the knowledge of the Chief Minister and ministers, issuing independent orders against the wishes of the elected government, blocking welfare schemes, and vetoing proposals sent by the Cabinet, which is totally unwarranted in a democratic country.
We held several rounds of agitations against her and requested the President, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to remove her from (the post of) Lt Governor, but the Government of India and the Prime Minister were encouraging Dr Bedi. Her office was functioning as the local BJP office in Puducherry. Development of Puducherry has been hampered by her behaviour. Our last agitation was a hunger strike.
At least today they (Centre) have realised it. Our main slogan is that we will keep the separate identity of Puducherry.
Why do you think she was removed now, just weeks before the elections?
Now they have woken up. Whatever Dr Bedi did is against interests of the people of Puducherry. The people know that she was encouraged by the BJP government at the Centre, and BJP leaders in Puducherry. Therefore, the people of Puducherry will reject the BJP in the elections.
I do not know whether it (removing Bedi from the post of L-G) was done because of elections. Whatever damage had to be done, she has done – it cannot be rectified. The people of Puducherry will remember it…
Four Congress MLAs have quit so far. How big a setback is this to the party ahead of the elections?
Not four, only three people. The fourth person has given his resignation. It has not been accepted by the Speaker. We are trying to persuade him (the MLA). We have got the majority. We will function according to the Constitution.
But is it not a setback?
It is not. You know the poaching strategy (of BJP). In several states they have done it. They have been attempting it in Puducherry for the last four-and-a-half years. Now they have succeeded to a certain extent. It will also go against the BJP in Puducherry (in the coming elections).
There is a view that the MLAs are resigning because they are unhappy with you and the functioning of your government.
They should give reasons for unhappiness. Why (resign) after four years and nine months? For the last four-and-a-half years they were happy with me, and at the fag end of the term, with elections just round the corner, they have found green pastures…and poaching by BJP…they are going.
If they are really unhappy with me, they should have quit one year ago, or two years ago. Why are they doing it now, at the fag end (of the government’s tenure), and at the time of elections?
Will the Congress have an alliance with DMK in Puducherry?
Our leadership will decide that – our (Congress) leadership and the DMK leadership. As far as I am concerned, our alliance with DMK is continuing.
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