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Puducherry L-G Kiran Bedi’s bid to stop MLA’s speech triggers spat on stage

Written by Arun Janardhanan
| Chennai |

Published: October 3, 2018 2:59:01 am

Kiran bedi, Puducherry governor, Kiran Bedi MLA verbal spat, kiran bedi verbal spat, Puducherry open defecation-free, indian express Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi. (File)

An event on Gandhi Jayanti to declare Puducherry open defecation-free witnessed dramatic moments with Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi attempting to stop the speech of a local MLA, leading to heated arguments on stage, and finally ordering that the microphone be switched off.

Before the event began, AIADMK MLA A Anabalagan learnt that his name was not on the list of speakers. He was also denied a seat on the dais, which he claimed was a decision against the precedents of the Congress government in the Union territory. He raised the issue with Public Works Minister A Namassivayam Namassivayam and Local Administration Secretary P Jawahar, and was requested to join the dais.

As the event began, Minister Namassivayam declared Puducherry open defecation-free under the Swachh Bharat Mission. Anabalagan was also invited to speak. In his speech, Anbalagan accused the Congress government of neglecting his constituency, and the administration for derailing governance amid its tussle with the elected government. He also alleged that the administration had sidelined not just him, but also R Radhakrishnan, MP of All India NR Congress, and N Gokulakrishnan, Rajya Sabha MP of AIADMK.

“I challenged the idea of Swachh Bharat and Achhe Din, citing over 1,000 poor households in my constituency near Puducherry town. They all have thatched roofs, no one has toilets. They applied for central government schemes to build houses and toilets, but were not given money. How can you declare Puducherry open defecation-free?” he told The Indian Express.

The four-time MLA said he spoke for 10 minutes, raising issues that irked Bedi. “Bedi sent me a note asking me to stop the speech. When I sought five more minutes, she stepped in and ordered to switch off the mike. She was not behaving like an L-G, it was not an insult on me but to my entire constituency,” he said.

Videos of the incident, which have gone viral, showed Bedi and Anbalagan having a heated argument. At one point, when Bedi asked him to leave the dais, Anabalagan asked her to do the same. “As we were arguing, she said she would do it (switch off the mike) again. I told her she had no right to ask me to leave the stage. She said many things in English, I told her to calm down, told her it was unbecoming of an L-G,” Anbalagan said.

Bedi said it was a historical day for Puducherry, as it had achieved the status of being open defecation-free. She said the MLA was not even scheduled to speak at the event, but forced himself into the speakers’ schedule.

The L-G said that Anbalagan, during his speech, rejected slips of paper and messages to end his speech. “Since I was presiding over the event, I intervened and personally requested again. He rejected it. I then asked for the mike to be switched off,” she said, adding that he continued to be rude. “Finally, after all that he wanted to say, he left in a huff.”

She added, “He went on and on beyond reasonable time. Awards too had to be given to the deserving.”

She said this was not the first time he had done something like this. “I witnessed similar misbehaviour earlier too, where he left in a huff when was he asked to respect others’ time,” she said.

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