In a sudden development, Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi was removed from her post on Tuesday night at a time when the union territory was witnessing a political crisis following the resignation of Congress MLAs from the V Narayanasamy government.
A brief communique issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman Ajay Kumar Singh said the President has directed that Bedi "shall cease to hold the office of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry".
President Ram Nath Kovind gave the additional charge of the union territory to Telengana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan "with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office, until regular arrangements for the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry are made".
The direction from the President comes amid the political crisis where the ruling Congress-led government has been reduced to a minority after one more MLA quit the party on Tuesday.
Bedi and Narayasamy have been at loggerheads over a range of issues.
A retired IPS officer, Bedi was functioning till late Tuesday evening and reviewing the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the union territory and issuing directions for bringing in police force and sanitation workers in the frontline worker category for the inoculation.
Amid the political turmoil, the opposition seized the opportunity and demanded the resignation of Narayanasamy, saying his government was in minority. However, Narayanasamy rejected the demand, claiming that his government continued to enjoy 'majority' in the assembly, which is set to go for polls in the next few months.
With resignations of four MLAs, the strength of the Congress in the 33-member assembly has been decreased to 10 including the Speaker. Its ally DMK has three members and an independent also supports the government. The opposition has 14 MLAs.