AHEAD OF a floor test in the Puducherry Assembly Monday, the Congress-led government found itself on the verge of collapse with two more MLAs submitting their resignations. This pulled own the ruling coalition’s numbers down to 12 in the 33-member House which has a current strength of 26.
With Sunday’s resignations of the Congress’s K Lakshmi-narayanan and ruling ally DMK’s K Venkatesan, a Congress leader told The Indian Express: “Even if the Speaker invokes his right to vote, there is no chance of getting majority strength.”
Senior officials told The Indian Express that the government could also resign on its own or be subject to a recommendation from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office for the Centre to dissolve it.
However, sources close to CM Narayanasamy said they “have evidence” of three Opposition MLAs allegedly trying to topple the government through efforts to “influence” ruling party MLAs. “The Speaker can expel them from the Assembly before the floor test,” said sources.
With just three months left for Assembly polls, there are also reports of the Congress “holding talks” with some AIADMK MLAs to save the government.
Currently, though, the numbers are heavily stacked against the government. The Congress has nine MLAs, including the Speaker, and DMK two while the government also enjoys the support of one Independent MLA. The Opposition alliance has seven MLAs of All India NR Congress and four of AIADMK, apart from three nominated MLAs from BJP.
Following a demand from the Opposition led by All India NR Congress founder N Rangasamy, the floor test was ordered Thursday by Tamilisai Soundararajan, the Telangana Governor, immediately after she was handed additional charge of Puducherry. Soundararajan was sworn in after the former Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi was removed from the post.
“Voting shall take place by show of hands. The entire proceedings of the Assembly shall be videographed. The floor test shall be conducted by 5 pm on February 22, and the proceedings shall not be adjourned or delayed or suspended at any cost,” said a statement from Soundararajan.
Apart from one Congress MLA who was disqualified for anti-party activities last July, a total of five Congress MLAs have now resigned from the House in the last one month, including two senior Cabinet ministers. Three of them have already joined BJP.
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