With the Puducherry government led by Congress’ V Narayanasamy losing its majority in the floor test conducted on Monday (February 22), the next course of action to be taken by political parties in the Union Territory seems unpredictable.
The Chief Minister has sent his resignation to Lt Governor Tamilsai Soundarrajan.
“As of now only the chief minister has resigned. But the supporting MLAs have not; it is up to them to resign or not. Whether the Assembly will be dissolved or whether the Opposition would form a new ministry is yet to be decided by the Lt Governor,” said Independent MLA, Dr V Ramachandran.
The Opposition has so far not staked its claim to form a government. If they do, the quorum stipulates presence of at least 15 MLAs. But the Opposition has only 14 MLAs. So, it’d appear all the MLAs would tender their resignation.
“But that is not necessary. The strength of the assembly is 26 out of which the Opposition has 14 MLAs. Since they have a simple majority, they may urge the Governor to allow them to form a new government,” said Ramachandran.
AIADMK MLA V Manikandan says the government had continued to function when the ruling party had lost its majority months ago after the resignation of MLAs.
“The Congress had disqualified one of its MLAs in 2020. It’s been a month since the first two MLAs from the party resigned. But they ran the government with 16 members. That’s not the argument. The logic is: who has a majority of MLAs at present in the House? Narayanasamy has resigned only his chief ministerial post, but he will continue as MLA. So they have 12 MLAs and we have 14 MLAs,” he said.
To the question of forming a new government, Manikandan said the AIADMK leadership has been informed about the current situation. “The Puducherry unit will act in accordance with the directive of the leadership”.
“We have a situation where three parties are involved. We will hold discussions and come out with a plan,” he said.
Soon after ending his speech, even before the motion was put to vote, Narayanasamy and his MLAs exited the Assembly. But the Opposition MLAs stayed on. This prompted the Speaker to announce that the government has lost its majority.
The incident was preceded by a question raised by the government whip as to whether the nominated MLAs had voting rights. The Opposition countered by arguing that they did have. Even as arguments continued, Narayanasamy exited the Assembly.
Speaking to The Federal, Speaker VP Sivakolunthu said he acted according to the law. “The Chief Minister left the Assembly before the motion was put to vote. Though I have the discretionary powers, I can act only as per law,” he said.
Ramachandran said had the Speaker not taken into account the Supreme Court’s order granting voting rights to the nominated MLAs, it could have led to contempt of court.
Meanwhile, government whip RKR Anantharaman while addressing the media said the Congress MLAs would resign if the Opposition staked its claim to form the government.