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Puducherry's tragic tryst with trust

Congress loses one of its last remaining bastions as the Narayanasamy-led government in Puducherry failed to win the confidence motion, thanks to nominated MLAs from the BJP

Published: 23rd February 2021 03:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd February 2021 03:37 AM   |  A+A-

Narayanasamy talks during the confidence motion in the Assembly | g pattabi raman

Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY: When there was a government, there was also a massive administrative logjam. When the logjam cleared, there is no more a government. In one line, this is the story of Puducherry over the last five years. This is not the first time that a government is crumbling in Puducherry. But, this is the first time it is falling because non-elected members of the House were allowed to decide the fate of an elected government.

In the past, all nominated legislators have been from the ruling party in Puducherry. The Centre would appoint them based on recommendations sent by the elected government. As a result, nominated members were always from the ruling party or its allies. Still, they were not given any voting rights, so there was no threat to the government from them.

This time was an exception. All three nominated members were directly appointed by the Centre, and are BJP functionaries. Although the Congress moved the Supreme Court, its appeal did not stand, because the rules mentioned for appointment of nominated MLAs do not elaborate on the procedures to be followed.

The DMK and its allies have termed the Monday’s trust vote as “murder of democracy.” The people, it said, would teach a befitting lesson to the saffron party in the upcoming elections. DMK president MK Stalin said, “The BJP may misuse its power in the Territorial Assembly. But, the DMK-Congress alliance will take this murder of democracy to the people’s court.” He recalled how Narayanasamy had been battling every “roadblock” put in the path of the elected government by former L-G Kiran Bedi.

Opposition members walk out of the House in a jubilant mood | g pattabi raman

TNCC president KS Alagiri, in a statement here, recalled that in the 2016 Assembly elections, Congress won 15 seats and the DMK three and formed a government with the support of 19 MLAs including an independent. “But the BJP, which contested in 18 seats, forfeited its deposit in all constituencies. However, despite being rejected by the people, it nominated three BJP functionaries as MLAs.” He said, “The people have seen the autocratic approach of the BJP in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, and Goa. In Puducherry, the public will teach the party a befitting lesson.” MDMK general secretary Vaiko and MMK president MH Jawahirullah were also among those who condemned the developments.     

The Opposition, meanwhile, is thrilled. NR Congress president N Rangasamy said the Congress will be defeated in the next elections. He said, the Congress members resigned as they had lost faith in the government. On  the claim of the CM that he had completed several projects and implemented schemes,  Rangasamy said they were all started during the previous NR Congress regime. 

BJP State president Saminathan said that with the collapse of the Congress government, the “worst chapter” in the history of Puducherry has ended. “In the last five years, the State’s finances were looted and destroyed, and money meant for the people, given by the Centre, was misused,” he alleged. He added that Modi’s visit, on February 25, would boost opportunities for the UT and BJP’s winning prospects.  

Cong, DMK sack leaders

The Congress on Monday suspended K Lakshminarayanan, parliamentary secretary to Chief Minister, for “violating” party discipline. Lakshminarayanan, who represented Raj Bhavan constituency in the Assembly, quit as a legislator on Sunday, citing lack of recognition by the government and the party. Puducherry Pradesh Congress president AV Subramanian, said in a statement that Lakshminarayanan “violated party discipline” by tendering his resignation, and hence, was suspended from the party’s primary membership. 

Meanwhile in Chennai, the DMK suspended K Venkatesan, party MLA representing Thattanchavady constituency, who stepped down on Sunday. DMK general secretary Durai Murugan said that Venkatesan had been suspended from all positions he held since he violated party discipline. The resignation of both these legislators hit the ruling front hard during the trust vote on Monday.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

A quick look at previous instances when the Puducherry governments’ tenures were cut short

 The DMK-CPI government of  MOH Farook which assumed charge on March 17, 1969, fell on Jan 3, 1974, after the CPI withdrew support
 The AIADMK-CPI government of S Ramasamy in 1974 lasted all of 22 days, before legislators defected en masse 
 Again, S Ramasamy assumed charge in July 2, 1977, but the government fell on Nov 12, 1978
 MDR Ramachandran government of DMK which assumed charge on January 16, 1980, fell on June 24, 1983
 Again on March 8, 1990 MDR Ramachandran of DMK assumed charge, but the government fell on March 31, 1991   
 DMK-TMC-CPI government of RV Janakiraman, which assumed charge on May 26, 1996, fell on March 21, 2000, after the TMC withdrew support
 With governments falling frequently, the Morarjee Desai government at the Centre was proposing merger of Puducherry with neighbouring States, but it was prevented with agitations
 Only after the Anti-Defection Law came into existence, governments in Puducherry saw some stability. Only three governments have completed their full term in office

(With inputs from Chennai)        



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