Congress loses Puducherry in trust vote; chief minister to resign

22nd February 2021

22nd February 2021

V Narayanaswamy

The Congress government has lost its majority in Puducherry and chief minister V. Narayanaswamy would resign. 

It’s numbers in the assembly were reduced to 12 after two MLA exits on Sunday. The majority mark is 14 in the assembly. The rival NR Congress-led alliance has 14 MLAs. 

When the trust vote debate began, the chief minister had still claimed he had a majority. 

Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan called the Chief Minister on Thursday and ordered him to take a floor test on Monday citing the opposition's stand that his government no longer has a majority. She called for the vote a day after taking charge following Kiran Bedi's sudden removal as Lieutenant Governor on Tuesday.

Congress, its claimed, thought of asking the Speaker not to allow the three nominated MLAs—all BJP members—to vote. If these MLAs were excluded, the ruling Congress would’ve had a majority. 

However, the Supreme Court had in a past ruling allowed nominated MLAs to vote. 

The Congress's crisis was precipitated by four resignations, two in January and two last week. Both the leaders who quit in January have joined the BJP and the rest are tipped to do the same.

Four outcomes are being seen as likely in Puducherry. The Lieutenant Governor may ask the NR Congress to form government with only three months to polls, or call for President's rule.

The Congress collapse is seen to benefit the BJP ahead of elections due by May in Puducherry, along with Tamil Nadu and three more states.

The Congress has lost its only government in the south. The BJP is likely to be part of a ruling coalition led by the NR Congress and its three MLAs - all nominated members - could become ministers.

Narayanasamy accused former Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi of "colluding with the opposition" to try and topple his government though his MLAs stayed united. He accused Kiran Bedi of scuttling every move of his government and denying central benefits.

 

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