Assembly elections are slated to be held in the Union territory in April-May this year. Telangana governor Tamilisai Soundarajan has been given additional charge of Puducherry, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said on Tuesday evening.
The decision to relieve Bedi is the culmination of a long-running feud between her and chief minister V Narayanasamy.
The President has directed that Kiran Bedi shall cease to hold the office of the lieutenant governor of Puducherry and has appointed Tamilisai Soundararajan, governor of Telangana, to discharge the functions of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry…,” Ajay Kumar Singh, press secretary to the President, said.
Bedi’s removal came a few days after a delegation led by Narayanasamy called on President Ram Nath Kovind and submitted a memorandum urging him to recall Bedi.
The delegation accused Bedi of acting in a “typical autocratic manner in violation of constitutional provisions and rule of law” and interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government and blocking all welfare and development schemes. Relations between the two had turned so acrimonious that they took their disagreements to public fora on several occasions.
Bedi and the Congress government have been at loggerheads over several issues ever since she assumed office on May 29, 2016. Narayanasamy charged Bedi with failing to redelegate the enhanced financial powers to the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues even after the home ministry’s directive.
The two crossed swords over the appointment of the state election commissioner to hold local body polls that were not held since the tenure of the elected representatives expired in 2011. Bedi cancelled the Puducherry government’s appointment of a retired official as state election commissioner (SEC) and ordered for selection of the SEC through a transparent, competitive and fair process inviting applications through an all-India advertisement.
The Congress government insisted on providing rice and cloth free of cost to beneficiaries while Bedi insisted on providing cash equivalent of rice and cloth through the direct benefit transfer, depositing cash directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.