Chennai: The Narayanasamy-led Congress Government in Puducherry lost the trust vote in the House on Monday, just two months ahead of the next Assembly elections. With the opposition disinclined to stake claim to form an alternative Government – as election notification is hardly a few days away – the Union Territory is likely headed for a President’s rule.
Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, who had called upon the Congress Government to prove its majority, is learnt to have passed on Narayanasamy’s resignation to the Home Ministry along with her report.
Resignations of five Congress legislators, including two ministers and a DMK legislator, during the past month and disqualification of a Congress MLA had reduced the ruling party to a minority. The Congress (9 including Speaker), DMK (2) and an Independent, were short of the half way mark in the House, whose reduced strength stood at 26, down from 33 (sanctioned strength of 30 plus 3 nominated).
Chief Minister Narayanasamy, who launched a tirade against Narendra Modi’s Central Government and former Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi accusing them of stalling all development activities in the Union Territory since May 2016, walked out of the House with his legislators even before the Motion of Confidence moved by him was put to vote.
The walkout was triggered after Speaker V P Sivakolundhu did not concede the Congress’s argument that the three nominated legislators (of BJP) did not have the right to vote.
With only the opposition combine of AINRC (7), AIADMK (4) and BJP (3 nominated members) accounting for 14 legislators, the Speaker, without putting the motion to vote, declared that it stood defeated.
Narayanasamy headed to Raj Nivas to meet Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to hand over his resignation. Later he told journalists that the Congress and DMK legislators had walked out of the House as the Speaker refused to accept the contention that the three nominated BJP MLAs do not have a right to cast their votes.
AINRC leader and former Chief Minister Rangasamy along with AIADMK and BJP leaders accused Narayansamy of failing to project his achievements and instead training his guns on the Centre and Kiran Bedi.
‘Centre murdered democracy’
In an hour long speech before quitting, Narayanasamy accused the BJP Government of the Centre of “destabilising and toppling an elected government by engineering defections, using investigative agencies and by inducements.” He likened it to similar destablisations in Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the past.
Accusing the Centre of murdering democracy by removing a democratically formed government at the fag-end of its tenure, he asked, “What was the need to remove an elected government just around 10 days before the announcement of Assembly elections?” He accused the Centre of using agencies such as the CBI, IT and ED to intimidate elected representatives. “In our side, we had some timid legislators and the BJP was successful in weaning them away but the people of Puducherry are watching,” he said.
“We will face the electorate and explain to the people how best we served despite so much interference and obstruction,” he added.