Former top police Kiran Bedi’s sudden removal as lieutenant governor of Puducherry on Tuesday, came as a shock even to her. Bedi, at the time, was reviewing the COVID-19 inoculation programme in the union territory.
She, India’s first woman IPS officer, posted a farewell message on her Twitter handle Wednesday, expressing gratitude for ‘Team Raj Nivas’, wishing the people of Puducherry a prosperous future and saying “whatever was done was a sacred duty fulfilling my constitutional and moral responsibilities”.
However, the tone of the farewell message reflected that Bedi has been at loggerheads with V. Narayanasamy’s Congress government. But according to reports, her removal was not due to the Congress’ repeated complaints about her interference in administration, but because the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally AIADMK were worried that in the upcoming assembly elections, she was turning into the biggest poll issue due to several unpopular decisions.
Meantime, the Congress, in fact, was planning to capitalise on this unpopularity. Former party chief Rahul Gandhi, who arrived in Puducherry Wednesday, had planned to start a high-decibel attack on Bedi, a former BJP leader who had contested elections in Delhi as the chief ministerial candidate.
Puducherry has a 33-seat assembly, of which 30 are elected and three nominated. But with four resignations and a disqualification, the strength of the House has come down to 28, and Narayanasamy has lost his majority. Now, the government is supported by14 MLAs — 10 from the Congress, three from the DMK and one Independent — while on the opposition side, former CM N. Rangasamy’s NR Congress has seven MLAs, the AIADMK has four while the BJP has three.
Now, replacing Bedi, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has been given additional charge as the L-G of the Union Territory, who received the Warrant of Appointment on Wednesday, 17 February.
"The President has directed that Dr Kiran Bedi shall cease to hold the office of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry and has appointed Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, Governor of Telangana, to discharge the functions of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry, in addition to her own duties, with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office, until regular arrangements for the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry are made," a statement from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Tuesday.