Kiran Bedi
Kiran BediIANS (File photo)

Kiran Bedi removed as Lt Governor of Puducherry

New Delhi, February 16, 2021

Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi was today removed from the position, a press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said here today.

Telangana Governor Tamilsai Soundararajan will hold additional charge of the post for the time being, it said.

"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," the communique said.

Bedi, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who had formally joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in January 2015 and was its chief ministerial nominee for the Delhi Assembly elections later that year, was appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory on May 22, 2016.

Ms. Bedi, 71, who was the first woman to be selected for the IPS in 1972, had lost from her constituency of Krishna Nagar in the Delhi Assembly elections in 2015.

She was a leading member of Anna Hazare's India Against Corruption, which had launched a nationwide campaign against corruption during the tenure of the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, was also a leading light of that movement, but his decision to float a political party led to a parting of ways between the two.

Apart from her career in the IPS, Ms Bedi has also been associated with various NGOs working in the areas of prison reforms, drug abuse prevention and child welfare. She won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1994 for government service. She was a national-level tennis player in her youth.

Her last posting as an IPS officer was as the Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development before she took voluntary retirement in November 2007 to pursue new challenges.

IANS adds:

Bedi's removal comes in the wake of political turmoil in the state over the last few weeks. The Congress in Puducherry has seen four among its senior-most leaders and MLAs resign, including senior leader and former PWD minister A Namasivayam.

On Tuesday its Kamarajnagar MLA A. John Kumar also quit the party.

While Congress MLA Malladi Krishna Rao quit on February 15, former PWD Minister A. Namassivayamy and E.Theeppainjan resigned on January 25.

N. Dhanavelu, a Congress member, was disqualified in July last year for alleged anti-party activities.

With back-to-back resignations, Congress's numbers dropped to way below the half-way mark and triggered a crisis. The Congress and DMK had a combined strength of 16 MLAs in the 30-member Puducherry assembly. The resignations have taken the Congress-led government to below 10 and the Opposition now has 14 MLAs.

However, sources close to the Chief Minister said the government in the UT is safe as the strength of the assembly has reduced. Puducherry is likely to go to polls along with other states in April-May this year.


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