The Congress government in Puducherry today faces a trust vote that it will find hard to win after two new resignations on Sunday. Chief Minister V Narayanasamy now has the support of 12 MLAs in the assembly where 14 is the majority mark. But as the Trust Vote debate started, the Chief Minister claimed he still has a majority. He listed his government’s achievements and said he became Chief Minister because of his party chief Sonia Gandhi and the DMK’s MK Stalin. If the government falls, Puducherry may be placed under President’s Rule just months before elections.
Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to the Puducherry political crisis:
- Two more MLAs – Congress’s K Lakshminarayanan and its partner DMK’s K Venkatesan – resigned on Sunday.
- Four-time Congress MLA Lakshminarayanan said he was upset at not getting “recognition” in the party. He said he wasn’t made a minister or Speaker nor party chief and thst the rival NR Congress and the BJP had approached him.
- With the two resignations, the Congress government’s strength in the Puducherry legislative assembly has fallen to 12 and the rival NR Congress-led alliance has 14 MLAs.
Sources say the Congress may ask the Speaker not to allow the three nominated MLAs – all BJP members – to vote. If these MLAs are excluded, the ruling Congress will have a majority. However, the Supreme Court had in a past ruling allowed nominated MLAs to vote.
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 as Lieutenant Governor following Kiran Bedi’s sudden removal on Tuesday.
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.
The Chief Minister insisted that the last two resignations had not been accepted and the MLAs would come around. That possibility looks distant now.
The Chief Minister has accused the BJP of trying to topple his government adopting the “Operation Kamala” – the name given by the BJP’s critics to what they call the plan of destabilizing governments by engineering defections in the ruling parties.
Four outcomes are being seen as likely in Puducherry. The government would remain intact if it passes the test of strength.
The Chief Minister may dissolve the assembly and call for an election. Or the government would fall and the Lieutenant Governor would ask the NR Congress to form government with only three months to polls. In the final outcome, the Lieutenant Governor could bring in President’s rule.