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Kiran Bedi Declares Puducherry Govt's Circular on Social Media 'Null and Void'

If 2016 was about the power struggle in Delhi between with the AAP government and Najeeb Jung, who resigned as the Lieutenant Governor recently, the new year begins with a similar face-off in Puducherry between L-G Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister Narayanasamy.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:January 5, 2017, 11:06 PM IST
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Kiran Bedi Declares Puducherry Govt's Circular on Social Media 'Null and Void'
File image of Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi. (Photo: PTI)
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Chennai: If 2016 was about the power struggle in Delhi between with the AAP government and Najeeb Jung, who resigned as the Lieutenant Governor recently, the new year begins with a similar face-off in Puducherry between L-G Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister Narayanasamy.

It all started when Narayanasamy, who is from the Congress, issued a circular on January 2, 2017 directing all government officers to “desist from use of social media for official works”. The circular also said that “strict compliance should be ensured by all concerned and violation, if any, of these instructions shall invite disciplinary action and further penal action as per rules in force”.

Kiran Bedi on Thursday cancelled the government order, stating that officials should use social media to publicise and implement important schemes. In a tweet, Kiran Bedi said: "If Puducherry has to be a progressive UT(Union Territory), it cannot be retrograde in communications. Hence @CM_Puducherry's order stands cancelled:@PMOIndia.”

In an order dated January 5, Kiran Bedi said the government's order is ‘null and void with immediate effect”. She also met Union Minister of State for Home Kiran Rijiju to discuss the matter.

Speaking to CNN-News18, Kiran Bedi said: “Don’t we need to communicate? He (Narayanasamy) has gone contrary to the framework and guidelines laid down by the IT Ministry on the usage of social media by government organisations. It is a properly laid down document. Not only that, on July 4, the government of Puducherry issued a circular as well. So there are two policies — one by Ministry of IT and the other by Puducherry government, both saying that social media can be used because it serves to redress public grievances.”

“Do you want to go back to papers and postman? Isn’t email also social media? The entire government of India is functioning on Twitter like the Railways, Ministry of External Affairs etc. Sushma Swaraj is the best example and is getting a lot of goodwill for our country for her efficient public grievance redressal on Twitter. I think Mr. CM has been ill-advised. It is a retrograde step. You have to move forward. You don’t go backwards. It was my duty as administrator to censure it and perform my duty.”

Chief Minister Narayanasamy told CNN News 18: "This is an official affair. I cannot give a comment."

Narayanasamy's order came after AS Sivakumar, the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, posted a pornographic video titled ‘Prosperous Rural Puducherry’ on a Whatsapp group that Bedi was part of.

Kiran Bedi suspended him but the suspension was revoked by the Election Commission on Wednesday as Sivakumar was appointed as the Electoral Registration Officer for the ongoing electoral roll revision.

While there have been reports that Kiran Bedi’s initiatives were being resented by the Puducherry government, both Bedi and Narayanasamy maintained that they were on the same page. But with Bedi cancelling the government’s order, looks like the already tense ties between the two have only escalated.

| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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