They Told Me 'You Are Expected to Be a Figure Head': Kiran Bedi
File image of Lt. Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi. (Image: Reuters)
Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry, has locked horns with the Congress government of the Union Territory and its chief minister V Narayanaswamy. In this interview to CNN-News18's Poornima Murali, she says the performance of the UT government is “far from satisfactory” and that she is only fulfilling her Constitutional role. Excerpts:
Q: How do you look at the performance of the Puducherry government so far? Are you taking matters into your own hands because you feel a lot more has to be done?
As regards their performance, it’s far from satisfactory. They have yet to grapple with long-standing administrative and financial issues besides raising resources. Also, I have been cautioning them not to depend on only borrowing money.
Q: While hearing a petition by Delhi’s AAP government challenging an earlier High Court order that said the Lieutenant Governor enjoyed discretionary power, the Supreme Court had observed that the government elected by the people had certain powers and rights. The matter is now listed for January 18, 2017. However, you seem to hold that as L-G you could choose to overlook the legislature. Doesn’t it violate the SC observation?
I am in no way overlooking the legislature. I am not coming in the way of their power of legislation. I am only fulfilling my administrative responsibilities as laid down by law for an administrator.
Q: If the legislature can be overruled in matters of finance, policy matters and public service, why have a legislature at all? What is the role of the elected representatives of the people then?
They came and told me “Madam you are expected to be a figure head.” I told them I am a functioning administrator/Lt Governor appointed by the President of India to act as his eyes and ears and uphold the Constitution as my oath. Please read the law and rules carefully.
Q: There have been allegations that you are not releasing the funds and in turn stalling the progress of UT. How do you defend this?
I am ensuring financial prudence, which did not exist in the past. Puducherry is in a debt trap already. It is borrowing to pay the interest. Even the borrowing capacity now is less than interest to be paid. It will get worse by every year if we do not improve matters. The elected representatives must raise resources. Which is not still done. Nor much deliberated on.
Q: There are a few complaints that you don’t follow through on promises made. What is your take on this?
A: Give me one example! I can establish everything I say, please see my Twitter media section. It will tell you what is being improved by sheer hard work.
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