In a late night development, President Ram Nath Kovind directed that former super cop-turned-politician Kiran Bedi “shall cease to hold” the office of Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
The President has instead asked Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to hold additional charge as LG of Puducherry.
Bedi, who received an electoral drubbing as the BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, was appointed Lieutenant Governor in May 2016. From the beginning her tenure remained controversial with the Raj Nivas and the elected Congress Government headed by V Narayanasamy having multiple face-offs and getting embroiled in judicial litigation.
While the Chief Minister and the Lieutenant Governor kept blaming each other for the standoff, the administration suffered as many governmental schemes were stuck pending clearance from the Raj Nivas.
In recent weeks, senior Congress leaders had even suggested that they boycott the Assembly polls as the Government was not allowed to function.
On February 10, a delegation led by Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy had met President Kovind in Delhi. It was during this meeting that the delegation urged the President to recall Bedi, accusing her of interfering in the administration of the Union territory. The delegation also claimed that Bedi was “impeding” the implementation of various schemes.
Bedi’s removal comes close on the heels of a crisis in the Narayansamy Government with four legislators, including two ministers, resigning from the party. One of them, MLA Malladi Krishna Rao, is now slated to join the BJP.
Incidentally, the fast-paced developments have happened just a day before Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's visit to Puducherry to launch the party's campaign for elections due by May.