PUDUCHERRY: A day ahead of the trust vote in Puducherry, the fall of V Narayanasamy’s Congress-led government appeared imminent as two MLAs — one from the Congress and another from its ally, the DMK resigned on Sunday. With this, the strength of the ruling front has fallen to 12, compared to the Opposition’s 14.
The Congress MLA from the Raj Bhavan constituency, K Lakshminarayanan, who is also parliamentary secretary to the Chief Minister, said he quit as the party didn’t give him due recognition, causing him to feel “cheated”. He is likely to join the NR Congress, which has tied up with the BJP.
DMK MLA D Venkatesan, from Thattanchavady constituency, also tendered his resignation to Speaker VP Sivakozhunth, saying he couldn’t serve his constituency as his hands were tied. He is likely to join the BJP. The V Narayanasamy government now has the support of 12 MLAs, including the Speaker, while the Opposition’s 14 include three nominated MLAs.
Of the 26 MLAs in the House, the Congress has nine, DMK two, and one is an Independent. As for the Opposition, the NR Congress has seven, AIADMK four and three are nominated MLAs who are BJP functionaries. Seven MLA seats are vacant due to the resignations of Congress and DMK MLAs and the disqualification of a Congress MLA.
Those who resigned are former ministers A Namassivayam (now in BJP) and Malladi Krishna Rao, K Lakshminarayanan, E Theepaindan (now in BJP) and A John Kumar from the Congress, and D Venkatesan from the DMK. N Dhanavelou of the Congress was disqualified in July last year.
Sunday’s resignations came hours ahead of a meeting between the Congress and DMK MLAs, under the leadership of Chief Minister Narayanasamy, to discuss their course of action. Lakshminarayanan, a four-time MLA and former minister for education, revenue and tourism, expressed his frustration with the Congress after quitting.
MLA quit after multiple Cong snubs?
Lakshminarayanan said, “I resigned as MLA as the government and party haven’t given due recognition to my seniority and service. I felt cheated and have been experiencing anguish.” T he leader went on to say that his resignation cannot be cited as the reason for the government to collapse, as the government had already been reduced to a minority.
Meanwhile, Venkatesan, who was elected following a by-election in 2019, said he couldn’t do anything for Thattanchavady constituency in his two years as an MLA as the local area development fund of Rs 2 crore was not released. “Without doing anything, I cannot face the people again in the elections,” he said. The loss of Lakshminarayanan, who had won the Raj Bhavan seat in the last four polls, is a major setback for the Congress, as that constituency remains his stronghold.
The Congress’ attitude towards him led to simmering differences, which took root when he was denied a minister’s post in the Narayanasamy Cabinet after the 2016 elections despite being a former minister and four-time MLA since 2001. He was pacified but remained hurt. He obliged the party by filing the case in the High Court against the appointment of nominated MLAs directly by the Union Home Ministry, and followed it up with another case in the High Court against former Lt-Governor Kiran Bedi for her “interference in day-to-day administration and infringing upon the rights of the elected government”.
However, he felt ignored when he was not considered for the Speaker’s post, which fell vacant in 2019 after the resignation of the then Speaker V Vaithilingam to contest the Lok Sabha polls. The Congress gave it to first-time MLA, VP Sivakozhunthu, who joined the party just before the 2016 Assembly polls. This seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and since then, Lakshminarayanan has been seeking political options.
NR Congress, AIADM K issue whips to MLA s
Puducherry: The NR Congress and AIADMK Party Whips in the Territorial Assembly on Sunday issued whips directing their party MLAs to take part in Assembly special session convened at 10 am on Monday and vote against the government. NR Congress has seven members and AIADMK four members in the House. It is to be noted that action under the ‘Anti-Defection Act’ could be initiated in case of any violation of the whip directions.
CM to reveal stance today
After meeting Congress and DMK MLAs and receiving their suggestions on Sunday, Puducherry Chief Minister Narayanasamy said he would reveal his government’s stand on the floor of the House on Monday