Bedi functioning in ‘atrocious’ manner: Puducherry CM

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy alleged that Lt Governor Kiran Bedi was ‘blocking’ the free rice scheme and interfering in appointment of the state election commissioner

 Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy (File photo)
Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy (File photo)


Intensifying his tirade against Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Friday accused her of functioning in an "atrocious" manner by 'blocking' the free rice scheme and interfering in appointment of the state election commissioner.

The Chief Minister, who has been at logger heads with Bedi on various issues, also said he has moved the Madras High Court against the Union Home Ministry and the Lt Governor for their stand 'affecting" the implementation of the free rice scheme in accordance with the Congress government's decision.

While the government has been insisting on distribution of rice to ration card holders, Bedi has pushed for remittance of cash equivalent to the quantum of rice into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, saying the Centre has given such a direction.

Narayanasamy claimed approval has been obtained from Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan for distributing rice to the cardholders through the PDS instead of cash.

"This clearance was available to me after Puducherry PWD Minister A Namassivayam, the newly elected Congress legislator A John Kumar and I met the union minister sometime back," the Chief Minister said.

But, Bedi had, in the meanwhile, written to the Union Home Ministry insisting on direct benefit transfer (DBT), which was accepted by the latter, he said.

"I am really surprised and aghast that the Union Home Ministry and the Consumers Affairs Ministry are adopting an opposite stand in operating the free rice scheme here," he said questioning the necessity for the Lt Governor to seek Home Ministry`s clarification on implementing the scheme.

"She is thus functioning in an atrocious manner impeding the welfare schemes," the Chief Minister charged.

Neighbouring states were distributing rice instead of cash, hence Puducherry could not have a different modality, he said.

"Kiran Bedi is appointed by the Centre. But, we are an elected government, and she has no right whatsoever to run counter to our decision on a welfare scheme," he said.

Narayanasamy said he has filed a petition in the Madras High Court in his capacity as chief minister seeking permission for carrying out its decision to distribute rice, adding it was likely to come up for hearing next week.

He said PWD and Local Administration Minister of Puducherry would also soon challenge in the Madras High Court Bedi's current move to appoint State Election Commissioner through a newspaper advertisement.

Her earlier 'attempt' to recruit the SEC through an advertisement was thwarted by the territorial assembly and a resolution was adopted appointing retired IAS officer T M Balakrishnan as the SEC to conduct the civic polls, he said.

While Balakrishnan, subsequent to his appointment, has started carrying out duties to conduct the civic polls, Bedi had written to the Union Home Ministry and got its nod for recruiting the SEC through a selection committee headed by the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister said.

"She had also declared the government`s decision to post Balakrishnan as null and void," he said, adding that Bedi was 'misusing' her authority to the maximum to 'disrupt' the smooth implementation of the government`s decision.

"Balakrishnan cannot be replaced or removed from the post," Narayanasamy, who had last week quashed Bedi's order, said.

Also, he alleged Bedi had a hidden agenda of appointing her Officer on Special Duty G Theva Needhi Dhas, a retired IAS officer, as the SEC.

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