Tug-of-war between govt. and LG takes a new turn

House supremacy:  MLAs have objected to officials taking orders only from the Lieutenant Governor.

House supremacy: MLAs have objected to officials taking orders only from the Lieutenant Governor.

In a new twist to the turf war between Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and the ruling Congress, Speaker V. Vaithilingam on Thursday directed the government to transfer Commissioner of Puducherry Municipality R. Chandirasekaran, who is considered a confidant of Ms. Bedi, and place him on compulsory wait till the Privileges Committee disposes of a complaint filed against him by AIADMK legislator A. Baskar.

Mr. Vaithilingam asked the officials not to be under the impression that they could do anything with the support of the Lieutenant Governor.

It was the constitutional right of the legislators to be invited to government functions.

On the police complaint filed by Mr. Chandirasekaran against Mr. Baskar, the Speaker said since the complaint was filed at the insistence of another person, the police should consider it as a complaint filed under persuasion.

The Speaker asked the government to submit before the House all files related to allotment of dredging work at Ariankuppam river mouth to the Dredging Corporation of India. It might be recalled that the work was allotted to DCI at the behest of Ms. Bedi.

The Speaker gave his ruling after members belonging to the Congress and the AIADMK brought to the knowledge of the House how the Commissioner had been working “against elected representatives with the support of Ms. Bedi.”

As soon as Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy presented a vote-on-account, AIADMK legislator A. Anbazhagan raised the complaint filed against the Commissioner with the Privileges Committee. In a scathing attack on Ms. Bedi, the legislator said the Lieutenant Governor had been trying to push the agenda of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre by trying to run the administration of the union territory with a handful of officials.

Mr. Anbazhagan wondered if the Lt. Governor would contest an election here if she was so keen on governing the union territory.

MLA unaware of meeting

The AIADMK legislator A. Baskar said the Commissioner, without inviting him, convened a meeting in his constituency. And after he submitted a complaint with the Privileges Committee, the Commissioner had filed a police complaint against him as per the directions of Lt. Governor.

Mr. Baskar said the Commissioner had scant regard for legislators and had made it a point to take orders from the Lt. Governor only.

Congress member K. Lakshminarayanan said the situation had reached a point where the Commissioner took orders only from the Lt Governor. He had been working against the elected government at the behest of Ms. Bedi.

Congress whip R.K.R. Ananatharaman said while the Chief Minister had been trying to get funds from the Centre, the Lt. Governor had been using her clout to “block” funds to the union territory. He said if the Lt. Governor failed to change her style of functioning, the legislators would stage a dharna in New Delhi.

Winding up the discussion, the Chief Minister said the government had made it a policy to invite legislators of all parties for government functions. It was the constitutional right and privilege of a legislator, he said. “Whatever ruling you (Speaker) give we will abide by that,” he said.

The Speaker immediately gave his ruling directing the government to transfer the Commissioner on Thursday itself.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2022 7:07:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/tug-of-war-between-govt-and-lg-takes-a-new-turn/article17745568.ece