The overcast Monday sky in Puducherry resonated with the mood in the Congress-DMK camp as the V Narayanasamy government, which had crumbled to a minority, fell a few months before polls. Though last week’s ouster of his bitter rival, Kiran Bedi as Lt Governor, brought in relief to his camp, the continuous exodus of MLAs made it impossible for the CM to even stand tall for a trust vote in the Assembly.
The first big jolt came last fortnight when Congress heavyweight A Namassivayam crossed over to the BJP.
The knockout punch that toppled the government came from the resignation of two MLAs, one from the Congress and another from the DMK, on Sunday. On judgment day, the CM, with his small flock of 12 MLAs, walked out rather unceremoniously before the motion was put to vote. Narayanasamy was quick to submit his resignation to the new Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and later blamed the BJP government at the Centre for the “murder of democracy”.
Puducherry is now headed for President’s rule. With polls in sight, it was only natural for the Opposition not to stake claim to form the government as it would focus, instead, on its campaign strategy.
With this, Narayanasamy’s roller-coaster ride has finally come to a halt. Last week’s ouster of Bedi was at best cosmetic relief. The CM had been fighting a losing battle all along. Bedi had been questioning all his political schemes such as free rice, 10% reservation for government school students in medical education, health insurance for all, etc. His grouse was that Bedi would not approve the schemes but send the files to Delhi, which would be sent back with more queries. The longstanding demand for statehood, despite the Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by the late Sushma Swaraj recommending it, was another sore point.
The electoral battle has now become an open arena where the Narayanasamy camp has to fight its weak image and try to resurrect itself. The BJP has an advantage with multiple heavyweights in its camp. PM Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit on February 25 will add more buoyancy to the BJP boat, with the Congress-DMK alliance left to manoeuvre in the UT’s choppy political waters.