The Bhartiya Janata Party in Puducherry has decided to give ministerial berths to its MLAs on rotational basis for a year after party MLA John Kumar’s supporters picketed the state committee office for non-inclusion in the cabinet.
On Saturday, a group of supporters of John Kumar had laid siege to the BJP Puducherry state committee office after the party leadership denied him a ministerial berth as he was booked by the Income Tax department for evading tax of more than Rs 750 crore. John Kumar was a former leader of DMK who later switched to the Congress and from there to the BJP just ahead of the 2021 assembly elections.
The supporters of John Kumar turned violent and even locked the party’s state committee office demanding their leader be made a minister.
The BJP has decided that former Congress leader and minister A. Namasivayam be given the first turn, and then provide ministerial berth to the other four MLAs out of the six legislators, it has. BJP MLA Embalam R. Selvam is already elected Speaker of the Puducherry assembly and hence the number of ministerial claimants from the party has come down to five.
John Kumar has already reached New Delhi along with his son Richard Johnkumar and another MLA P.L. Kalyanasundaram to impress upon the party national leadership of his claim for the ministerial berth as a representative of the minority community. It is learned that after the meeting with the BJP high command, the party leadership has relented to provide ministerial berths to all the party legislators on a rotational basis of one year period to each MLA.
The BJP won six of the nine seats it contested in the 2021 assembly elections which is the best electoral performance of the party in the history of Puducherry.
Surjit Devadas, journalist of a local daily at Mahe, Puducherry, told IANS, “BJP is facing the trauma of providing seats to the turncoats who have crossed fence during the run-up to the assembly elections. BJP of yore was an ideologically driven party in this part of the world, but it has now stooped to the level of other political parties and the party will have to face more and more issues. However, it is to the credit of the party leadership that it has won six seats from zero it had in 2016.”