In a significant blow to the ruling V Narayanasamy government, two more MLAs – one from the Congress and another from its partner DMK – have resigned in Puducherry, on the eve of a crucial floor test in the Puducherry legislative assembly.
The floor test which will be held on Monday (February 22) has been called by Union Territory’s Lieutenant Governor, Tamilisai Soundararajan, (who replaced Kiran Bedi) since the Opposition had written to her stating that the ruling party lacks majority. If neither the Congress nor the Opposition can show majority, Puducherry is likely to head for President’s rule just three months before the assembly elections.
With these two resignations, the Congress government’s strength in the Puducherry legislative assembly has dropped to 12 out of a strength of 26.
The reason that four-time Congress MLA Lakshminarayanan gave for his resignation is that he is upset because he has not got any “recognition” in his party. DMK MLA Venkatesan, however, has not issued a statement as yet.
K Lakshminarayanan, who contested from the Raj Bhavan constituency, in an interview with The Federal said that he has been contemplating this decision for a long time. “This is not an abrupt decision. Tomorrow (Monday) is the floor test. So, I am not with Congress for just one day. I am not the first person to create a confusion here. Everything is gone beyond irreparable loss. So, my decision will not change the condition of the government,” he argued.
“The Congress has already lost its majority. It is to express my anguish over the party, I have resigned,” he added.
The disgruntled MLA, who says that he cannot be blamed for the “crisis” that is rocking the Congress-led government, said that he was not made a minister despite being a senior leader. He was not made party chief when Namassivayam, the Union Territory’s Congress chief, resigned recently and switched to the BJP and neither was he made the Speaker earlier, said sources close to him.
“I am the senior most MLA. But the leaders have not given importance to me to share the positions in the government or in the party. Anyway, tomorrow all are going to resign. I just resigned the day before,” said Lakshminarayanan told The Federal.
Lakshminarayanan refuted any charges of being threatened or being pressured by the Opposition or the BJP.
“I have not received any kind of threats nor any kind of pressure. It’s purely my decision. I could have resigned a year back but somehow I kept the decision at bay. After resigning from the Congress, I definitely won’t join BJP,” he clarified.
Questioned on why Congress was losing members at such a rapid pace, Lakshminarayanan claimed that the leadership has no connection with the roots.
“Either in the state or in the Centre, the top leadership of a party should keep in touch not only with the people but also with its MLAs and MPs. In Puducherry, we have just 15 MLAs. The Chief Minister Narayanasamy should have stayed connected with us, every now and then. He should have given us an ear to our problems and opinions. But that didn’t happen. It is because of this disconnection all this is happening,” he said.
Lakshminarayanan has been receiving invitations from many quarters, he claims, but he will take his next course of action after consulting with his followers and constituency people.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has accused the BJP of trying to topple his government. Once again, he alleged it has been the “practice and design” of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to disturb Congress governments in states like Goa, Manipur, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and now in Puducherry.
Four outcomes are now possible in Puducherry. The government will not fall if it passes the test of strength on the Legislative floor – the Chief Minister claims the resignation of two MLAs is yet to be accepted. The Chief Minister may dissolve the assembly and call for election. Or, the government will fall and the Lieutenant Governor will ask the NR Congress to form the government with only three months to go for election. Or, the Lieutenant Governor can impose President’s rule.