Chennai: Kiran Bedi has been removed from the post of Lieutenant Governor (LG) amid a political crisis in Puducherry.
President Ramnath Kovind has removed Kiran Bedi with immediate effect and handed over the additional charge of Puducherry to Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan.
Kiran Bedi has been removed at a time when the state Congress government lost its majority in the Assembly on Tuesday following the resignation of another MLA from the Union Territory. In the current House, the Congress-led alliance now has 14 MLAs. Elections for the Puducherry Assembly are to be held in the next few months.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, the Opposition demanded the resignation of Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and said that the government is in the minority. Puducherry's 33-member assembly now has 14 members of the opposition. However, Narayanasamy rejected the opposition's demand, claiming that his government had a "majority" in the House.
Puducherry Congress MLA A John Kumar resigned from the Assembly on Tuesday, becoming the fourth MLA to resign in the last one month. With Kumar's resignation, the number of Congress members in the Assembly, including the Speaker, has come down to 10 members. While his ally DMK has three members and an independent member is also supporting Narayanasamy's government.
The majority figure is 15 based on the number of effective members in the House. The Puducherry Assembly elections are expected to be held in April as the term of the current Assembly expires on June 21, 2021. The resignation of the Congress MLA took place a day before party leader Rahul Gandhi came to start his election campaign.
Following Kumar's resignation, there are 10 Congress MLAs, three DMK MLAs, seven All India NR Congress MLAs, four AIADMK MPs, three BJP MLAs (all nominated and entitled to vote) and one independent MLA in the Assembly on Tuesday. Four Congress MLAs have resigned while one MLA has been disqualified.
"I have also resigned from the party. I am sending the letter to Puducherry Congress Committee President A Subramaniam," Kumar said.
Last month, the BJP president, while addressing a rally here, alleged that the Congress was mired in corruption and claimed to have won more than 23 of the 30 seats in the Union Territory. The resignation of MLAs from the Congress began last month with Minister A Namassivayam and E Thippanjan, both of whom later joined the BJP. Minister Malladi Krishna Rao also resigned from the government first and then resigned from the MLA post on Monday. In July last year, N Dhanvelu was disqualified for anti-party activities.