Sonia fights Pondy fire, meets Namassivayam

Party veteran says he has not staked claim to post of deputy CM; new Narayanasamy cabinet to assume office soon

Published: 04th June 2016 04:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2016 04:48 AM   |  A+A-

Sonia Gandhi_AFP (2)

Congress President Sonia Gandhi (File|AFP)

NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of rebellion in several State units from Meghalaya to Chhattisgarh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi met Puducherry PCC chief A Namassivayam, who has been sore over the party’s decision to name V Narayanasamy as chief minister instead of him on Friday.

Talking to the media after the one-to-one meeting, Namassivayam said he neither staked his claim for Deputy CM’s post nor proposed any names for ministership.

With the State unit still simmering with discontent, the new CM and his Cabinet is still to take oath in the union territory.

However, a truce seems to have been reached. As after the meeting Namassivayam announced, “the new Cabinet under Narayanasamy will shortly assume office”. He also added that he will “abide by the high command’s decision’’ and “work for the people of the State’’.

According to sources, the Puducherry Cabinet list is being prepared by Narayanasamy in consultation with AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, which will subsequently be approved by the Congress chief.

All this exercise and tussle is over the five Cabinet berths the union territory has.

Sources said there were “two reasons” why Sonia decided to give time to the Puducherry PCC chief. First, the Congress has to keep its flock together whether it is in its last stronghold, the North East, or in tiny the Puducherry. Second, without her intervention, the government was pretty much stuck.

The party can ill-afford any more bad tidings. It’s on the verge of a split in Chhattisgarh where the controversial Congress veteran and former CM, Ajit Jogi, is about to float a new party ostensibly to take on the Raman Singh government.

He alleged that the Congress PCC chief and the CLP leaders in the State were both bogged in land deals and therefore cannot put up a serious challenge to BJP.

From Meghalaya, Congress leaders recently sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi and her son and deputy Rahul, saying they were worried that “the BJP is camping in Shillong” and looking to stir trouble for the State government.

In the letter, it was alleged that the Congress rebel in Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma who joined the BJP and crafted the spectacular saffron victory in the State, was in touch with rebel ministers in Meghalaya to topple the Congress government headed by Mukul Sangma.

The Congress note alleged that Congress PCC chief D D Lapang met senior BJP leader Ram Madhav at Himanta Biswa’s behest to break the party. The meeting was later denied by Madhav.

Prior to this, a rebel faction in Arunachal Pradesh defected to the BJP thus pulling down the Congress in the remote border State. Similarly, nine rebels in Uttarakhand shook up the Harish Rawat government, which was later reinstated.

With the party’s electoral fortunes dwindling and disquiet over Rahul Gandhi’s impending takeover of the party growing, Sonia Gandhi agreed to intervene in the Puducherry affairs. More so as infighting has come in the way of government formation.


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