NEW DELHI, Feb 22: With only a few months to go for the Assembly elections, the Congress-DMK government in the union territory of Puducherry bowed out of office on Monday after it was reduced to a minority following a spate of resignations by the ruling party members in the last few days reducing the strength of the ruling coalition to 12 against the combined opposition’s 14.
The Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy submitted his resignation to Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan shortly after the motion of confidence moved by him on the floor of the Legislative Assembly was defeated.
Resignations by half-a-dozen legislators — five from the Congress including two Ministers and one from the DMK — in recent weeks and the disqualification of a Congress legislator last year, had reduced the government to a minority.
Soon after the House assembled at 10 a.m. on the directions of the Lt. Governor to the government to prove its majority, Narayanasamy moved the confidence motion and spoke for about an hour on the hurdles they faced from the Centre and from former Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi over the years.
As soon as he finished his speech, Government whip R.K.R. Anantharaman sought a clarification from Speaker V.P. Sivakolandhu on voting rights of three nominated legislators belonging to BJP.
When the Opposition started arguing with the ruling party members, Narayanasamy and ruling party members staged a walk out. Soon after they left the House, Mr. Sivakolandhu informed the House that the confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister stood defeated.
The chief minister then left for Raj Nivas and handed over his resignation to the Lt. Governor.
The Raj Nivas said Narayanasamy called on Lt. Governor Soundararajan, and submitted the letter of resignation of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers.
According to a press note, Narayanasamy was accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and MLAs of the ruling Congress-DMK alliance.
Speaking on the motion, Narayanasamy said the opposition camp tried all the tricks under their sleeves to destabilize the people elected government. “We formed the government with the support of DMK and other independent MLAs. We faced three elections and won in all of them. People trusted us. This is a government elected by the people of Puducherry. The opposition who were unable to defeat in the election are now trying to topple the government,” Narayanasamy said.
Calling the MLAs who resigned as opportunists, Narayanasamy said they will never be able to meet the public with a straight face.
He also spoke at length about the various welfare measures that his government provided for, despite the hindrance from former lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi and the Central Government. He alleged that the centre neglected the union territory by not disbursing enough funds.
Soon after he finished his speech, Congress Whip RKR Anatharaman asked the speaker about the voting rights of the three BJP-nominated MLAs. Following this, a commotion broke out and Congress alongside its alliance walked out of the assembly.
The speaker soon announced that the Congress government has lost its majority.
Former Puducherry Chief Minister and leader of ANR-Congress, N Rangaswamy, said Narayanasamy resigned his post after failing to deliver his promises. He said he would consult with his alliance partners on staking to claim to form the government.
Soon After, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took a jibe at Congress after it failed to clear the floor test in the Puducherry assembly. The party, which is in power in Delhi, suggested that Congress should focus on saving its own governments, rather than saving the nation. “Congress has not got a break from saving its own governments in states where it is in power. How will it save the nation?” the AAP tweeted.