Day before test, Puducherry ruling alliance loses two more MLAs

A day before the floor test in Puducherry Assembly, the ruling Congress-led alliance suffered a major setback as two more of its MLAs resigned on Sunday.

In a dramatic development, Congress’ K. Lakshminarayanan and DMK’s K. Venkatesan announced their resignations.

Lakshminarayanan said he resigned because the party didn’t give him due recognition in the government and in the organisation.

Asked if he will join any other party, he said he would take a decision after consulting people of his constituency. He claimed that the government led by Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy has lost its majority.

Assembly Speaker V.P. Sivakolundhu confirmed that he has received resignations from two MLAs. “I have informed the Chief Minister and the Assembly Secretary about it. I am examining their resignations,” he said.

Puducherry’s incharge Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararjan on February 18 had asked Chief Minister Narayanasamy to prove majority in the Assembly on February 22.

Hours after taking over as the incharge Lt Governor, she said the Assembly session shall be summoned on February 22 with a single agenda of ascertaining whether the government continues to enjoy the confidence of the house.

Her direction came after the opposition BJP, the AIADMK and the All India NR Congress submitted a memorandum claiming that the Congress-led government in the Union Territory slipped into a minority.

All India NR Congress founder-leader N. Rangasamy, who is the Leader of Opposition, had claimed that the government had lost its majority after four of the MLAs of the ruling party resigned in the last 25 days. He also pointed out that a legislator of the ruling party was disqualified last year.

Before the resignation of two MLAs on Sunday, both the government and the opposition had 14 MLAs in 30-member Assembly. There are three nominated members and all the three belong to the BJP.

Five seats fell vacant after resignation of four MLAs and disqualification of one MLA.

After the dramatic development of Sunday, the Congress-led alliance is now left with just 12 MLAs. Congress now has nine members. The DMK, which now has three, and an independent, are supporting the Congress government.

The AINRC has seven MLAs and its ally AIADMK four.

The Chief Minister has accused the BJP of engineering defections.

Assembly elections in Puducherry are due to be held in May this year along with the elections in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Kerala.