Puducherry’s tryst with uncertainty continues, this time with no Cabinet ministers

According to the deal, the BJP gets a Speaker and two ministers, including the Home portfolio, and the AINRC gets a Deputy Speaker and three ministers.

Published: 22nd June 2021 05:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2021 05:50 AM   |  A+A-

Puducherry chiefminister N.Rangasamy wishing the newly elected assembly speaker Selvam on Wednesday

File photo of Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy wishing the newly elected assembly speaker Embalam R Selvam. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY:  44 days have passed since N Rangasamy took oath as Chief Minister of Puducherry, yet confusion persists over the induction of his Cabinet ministers. It is the differences within the NDA alliance of the AINRC and BJP, and internal issues within the parties that have been coming in the way of formation of a ministry in the Union Territory. The Opposition parties, Congress and the DMK, have flayed the NDA, stating that it was a mockery of democracy, while Lok Sabha MP V Vaithilingam stated that the MLAs were after the chair, rather than on people’s welfare.

After initial hiccups within the alliance, the saffron party submitted its list to the Chief Minister on June 15. Among those whose names had featured were J Saravana Sai Kumar, a first-time MLA, and A Namassivayam, a Congress turncoat who had also served as the PWD Minister. John Kumar, another turncoat, also was a contender for a Cabinet berth, but it seems the BJP chose to stick with a loyalist (Saravana), who has been with the party for a decade now. “The portfolios will be decided after the induction of ministers. We will sit and amicably decide on it,” said Nirmal Kumar Surana, BJP leader in-charge of UT.

Now, it is the NR Congress that is taking its own sweet time in deciding ministers. Rangasamy is finding it tough to decide among senior MLAs K Lakshminarayan, C Jayakumar, and P Rajavelu, and giving representation to Karaikal (PNR Thirumurugan and Chandrapriyanka), and including someone from the Schedule Caste (P Rajavelu, U Lakshmikandan and Chandrapriyanka). After the deal with the BJP, the CM now has three ministerial berths and one Deputy Speaker’s post to fulfil his political compulsions.

Though the formation of the ministry was initially delayed over the BJP’s insistence on the posts of Deputy Chief Minister, Speaker, and three other ministerial portfolios, including Home, the matter was later settled between the two parties. According to the deal, the BJP gets a Speaker and two ministers, including the Home portfolio, and the AINRC gets a Deputy Speaker and three ministers.

The BJP’s demands were initially unacceptable to the Chief Minister, particularly because the saffron party had only six MLAs compared to AINRC’s 10. However, with the CM hospitalised just two days after assuming charge, the BJP inflated its number in the Assembly by nominating three of its partymen as MLAs. Besides, it secured the support of three independent MLAs, inflating the party’s strength to 12 in the House. The BJP also wanted Namassivayam to be appointed as the Deputy CM, as that would give them a prominence in the government.

The situation remained in what seemed like an eternal impasse when Rangasamy chose to not take calls from the BJP all through his hospital stay, quarantine period  and after resuming duty. Finally, it was upon the intervention of BJP’s national leaders that the CM met Rajya Sabja MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar at his residence earlier this month, and the agreement followed. Later, on June 16, Embalam R Selvam, State Vice-President of the BJP, was sworn in as the Speaker.

With the BJP list in hand, Rangasamy is expected to hand it over to Lt Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan on Monday for approval by the Union Home Ministry. Though the party cited that Tamilisai was away from the UT, it is speculated that the CM could still reconsider his list, having to name AINRC candidates too.


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