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Congress Loses Power In Puducherry. CM V. Narayanasamy Resigns, Blames BJP

The Congress government in Puducherry collapsed today after losing its majority and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy resigned. After two exits on Sunday, the government’s numbers had dropped to 12 MLAs in the house where the majority mark is 14. After a series of resignations from the Congress, Mr Narayanasamy was asked to face a trust vote last Thursday, the day his party leader Rahul Gandhi visited Puducherry to prep for polls due by May. Mr Narayanasamy accused the opposition BJP and NR Congress of bringing down his government and also blamed former Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi of “colluding with the opposition”. He resigned soon after delivering a speech in the assembly. Yesterday, the ruling coalition lost two more MLAs; Congress’s K Lakshminarayanan and its partner DMK’s K Venkatesan resigned. Four-time Congress MLA Lakshminarayanan said he was upset at not getting “recognition” in the party. He said he wasn’t made a minister, Speaker or party chief and that the NR Congress and BJP had approached him. With the Congress losing power, the rival NR Congress-led alliance, which has 14 MLAs, may be asked to form government with just three months to the polls. The Lieutenant Governor may also call for President’s rule. After Mr Narayanasamy’s address the Congress had asked the Speaker to not allow the three nominated MLAs – all BJP members – to vote. Without these MLAs, the ruling Congress would have a majority. But the Speaker denied the request; 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 following Kiran Bedi’s sudden removal as Lieutenant Governor 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. But two more exits left him struggling even more. The Chief Minister 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. 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. If the NR Congress is invited to form government, the BJP is likely to be part of a ruling coalition and its three MLAs – all nominated members – could become ministers. Power in Puducherry, the BJP assesses, would add to its tally of southern governments after Karnataka. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP couldn’t win even a single seat in Tamil Nadu.

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