Recall Bedi who is running a 'tughlaq durbar,' Pondy CM tells President

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(Eds: Recasts, changes headline) New Delhi/Puducherry, Feb 10 (PTI) Taking his fight with Lt Governor Kiran Bedi to the President of India, Chief Minister of Puducherry V Narayanasamy on Wednesday urged Ram Nath Kovind to recall the former IPS officer, saying she was running a 'tuglaq durbar.' In a detailed memorandum presented to Kovind in the national capital, Narayansamy said 'even during French regime, we were not ill-treated like this.' He complained that Bedi was 'autocratic' and was interfering in the administration, besides 'impeding' the implementation of various proposals of the elected government.

The chief minister, who has been at odds with Bedi over a number of issues concerning the union territory since her appointment there in 2016, had a half an hour meeting with the President.

Speaking to PTI over the phone from New Delhi, he said he had presented the memorandum containing the various schemes allegedly impeded by Bedi and that he was accompanied by lone Lok Sabha member from Puducherry V Vaithilingam and his cabinet colleagues M Kandasamy and Malladi Krishna Rao.

'The proposal of the government to introduce 10 percent quota for students from government schools and holding NEET certificates intending to do medical education had also been facing hurdles as the Lt Governor to whom the proposal was sent had forwarded it to the Centre', he said.

In the memorandum, made available to the media at Puducherry, Narayansamy told the President that 'Dr Kiran Bedi is running Tughlaq Darbar in undemocratic (manner) and in violation of Rules of Law.' Accusing her of funcioning like a 'typical autocrat', he alleged that she was making unilateral decisions in administrative, financial and policy matters totally in violation of Rules of Business of Government of Puducherry, 1963 and Constitutional principles.

He charged Bedi with 'burying' the democratic setup and democratic institutions and said she was a 'danger' to the democracy.

'Even during French regime, we were not ill-treated like this. They respected the people and never treated us as slaves. That is why veteran Indian freedom fighters like (Rabindranath) Tagore, Subramaniya Bharathi, etc. came to Puducherry to fight effectively against the British rule in other parts of India,' Narayansamy said.

The happenings in Puducherry were 'brutal murder' of democracy 'and being the custodian for the Constitution of India, we humbly request to kindly intervene into this issue and save democracy and federal system and people of Puducherry by removing Dr Kiran Bedi,' as Lt Governor, he told Kovind.

'This also will uphold the dignity of the post of Lieutenant Governor,' he added.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she never left her residence but once publicly reprimand a medical officer in strong words, he said.

Many cabinet decisions like the implementation of Universal Health Scheme, distribution of mobile tablets to provide e-learning education during the pandemic, providing 50 percent reservation to government in private medical colleges, and distribution of free rice scheme have either been delayed by Bedi or modified by her, he claimed.

'Dr Kiran Bedi is arbitrarily laying conditions in all the welfare schemes without following any Rules/guidelines.

This badly affects the implementation of the welfare schemes and thereby many poor/downtrodden people of Puducherry are left without benefits from the Government,' he said.

Addressing reporters in New Delhi after meeting Kovind, Narayanasamy said he submitted to the President the documents containing one lakh signatures collected from the people by the ruling dispensation for the recall of Bedi.

The Lt Governor had issued 'arbitrary' orders to close the government owned AFT mill, Swadeshi Cotton mills and Bharathi Mill in the union territory, he added.

The territorial government was facing difficulty in disposing off the land belonging to the AFT mill there as it intended to use the sale proceeds to pay the workers there.

'The Lt Governor had also declined to bring down the Covid Tax (imposed on liquor products) and the government felt for the need for the reduction in the tax as the incidence of the pandemic had fallen in Puducherry', the CM added.

He said he had also apprised the President of the hardships faced by the people because of the continuation of the barricades in a radius of 500 metres from Raj nivas (office cum residence of Lt Governor).

'People are not able to move about following deployment of Central reserve police forces although normalcy has returned here', he said.

The security there was earlier stepped up in the wake of a dharna undertaken by the ruling party against Bedi in the wake of her consistent face-off with the government.

The SDA had staged a four day agitation in the UT from January 8, demanding recall of Bedi, besides going on a day-long hunger strike on February 5 on the issue.

Bedi, a former IPS officer, and Narayanasamy have been at loggerheads over various issues ever since she was appointed the Lt Governor in May 2016, with the ruling Congress accusing her of going against the decisions of the government.

The Congress had in December, 2019 written to President Kovind seeking the recall of Bedi, who has maintained that being the Administrator of the Union Territory she was only discharging her duties as per law.

Meanwhile, the Narayanasany-led delegation met Additional Secretary to Union Home Ministry Govind Mohan in Delhi and discussed various developmental issues of Puducherry, sources close to Chief Minister here said. PTI COR SA ROH ROH