On 2nd of October, entire nation commemorated Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. However the scenes at Puducherry were not very pleasing as AIADMK lawmaker, A Anbalagan got into a verbal spat with lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi, over his long speech. Just a few moments before the start of the event, Anbalagan learnt that he was not given an opportunity to address the Gandhi Jayanti program held at his constituency. The MLA started making an issue out of it before he was convinced by public works Minister, A Namassivayam.
After director (local administration) G Malar Kannan welcomed the gathering, district rural development agency project director P T Rudra Goud gave a presentation on initiatives undertaken to achieve the open defecation-free status. Just as the presentation concluded, Anbalagan insisted upon addressing the gathering and was allowed to do so.
In his long and exhausting speech, Anbalagan went on to hurl a series of allegations and accusations at the incumbent Congress Government of the Union territory. Lieutenant Governor, Kiran Bedi who was present at the event and had other commitments, was compelled to send notes through an official to Anbalagan, asking him to cut his speech short.
However, Anbalagan seemed to be in no mood to leave the stage early and so he continued his speech, overlooking all the notes sent by the Lieutenant Governor. At last, Bedi had no option but to climb up to the dais and request Anbalagan herself. However As the MP was reluctant to finish his speech, Bedi asked the sound engineer to switch off the mike, infuriating the MLA and leading to an ugly spat between the two.
Bedi with folded hands requested him, “Please go, don’t spoil our function’. Anbalagan shouted back, “You go, and I will sit on the floor of the dais.” Namassivayam and MP Radhakrishnan attempted to pacify him but in vain. Anbalagan questioned Bedi for daring to instruct the operator to switch off the mike while he was addressing the gathering. “I was raising serious issues concerning my constituency. How can you switch off the mike? Is this the way a government functions?” he questioned and left the venue.
Later in response to queries, Bedi in a WhatsApp message termed the incident ‘truly unfortunate’.
“The MLA (Anbalagan) was not scheduled to speak. He compelled his way before the start of the function to be a part of speaking schedule. Once presentation programme was over, he came to the microphone and went on and on beyond reasonable time when there was long program to follow. Awards too had to be given to the deserving,” she said
“Since I was presiding over the event, I intervened and personally requested yet again. He rejected. I then asked for the mike to be switched off. He continued to be rude. To all present there. Finally, after all that he wanted to say, he left in a huff. Incidentally this is not the first time this MLA has done something like this. I have witnessed similar misbehaviour of his earlier too where also he left in a huff when he asked to respect others’ time too,” she added.