Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy will have to prove majority on the floor of the House on Monday as the Congress-DMK alliance's strength in the 33-member assembly continues to dwindle.
Narayanasamy, who held a meeting with Congress and DMK MLAs on Sunday, said the government's strategy would be made known before the floor test. The floor test, ordered by Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, is scheduled to take place at 5 pm on Monday.
Soundararajan had on Thursday ordered the floor test after the Opposition, which has 14 MLAs, petitioned her, saying the government has been reduced to minority and it should prove its strength in the assembly.
Two more Congress-DMK MLAs quit
On Sunday, Congress member K Lakshminarayanan and DMK's K Venkatesan quit the assembly, with the former saying the government lacked majority in the wake of the spate of resignations, while the Dravidian party legislator hit out at the alleged lack of funds to meet people's requirements.
Lakshminarayanan and Venkatesan submitted their resignation letters separately to Assembly Speaker V P Sivakolundhu at his residence.
Speaking to reporters, Lakshminarayanan said, "This government led by Narayanasamy has lost majority." He said he has also resigned from the Congress.
Later, Venkatesan told the media that he had quit the post of MLA only and continued to be in the DMK.
"... I was not able to meet the needs of the people in my constituency since there was no allocation of funds under the MLA Local Area Development fund," he said.
Five Congress MLAs, including ex-ministers A Namassivayam (now in BJP) and Malladi Krishna Rao, have quit since last month, while another party legislator was disqualified earlier.
How do the numbers stack up?
In yet another jolt to Narayanasamy, two more MLAs of the ruling Congress-DMK alliance resigned on Sunday, bringing down the side's strength further to 11 against the Opposition's 14.
The fresh bout of resignations took the tally in the last few days to three and the cumulative since last month to six.
The present party position in the assembly: Congress nine, including the Speaker, DMK two, All-India NR Congress seven, AIADMK four, BJP three (all nominated with voting rights), and one independent who has supported the government.
There are seven vacancies.
The Speaker's vote
Interacting with reporters, Puducherry Assembly Speaker V P Sivakolundhu said, "I have received resignations from two MLAs. I have informed the chief minister and the Assembly secretary about it. I am examining their resignations."
Asked about whether he will vote during the no-confidence motion, the speaker said, "If both sides are equal, only then I, as a Speaker, can vote."
Sivakolundhu declined any plan to meet the Governor.
Puducherry is going to Assembly polls later this year. The dates are yet to be announced.
Narayanasamy's strategy meeting
Narayanasamy, who held a meeting with the Congress and DMK MLAs and others on Sunday, said the discussions centered around the strategy to be adopted in the House on Monday.
"No final decision was taken by the participants at today's meeting... ministers and legislators of the Congress-DMK alliance attended, and they only discussed the strategy to be adopted on Monday," the chief minister said.
While "several suggestions" were put forth in the meeting, it was "unanimously decided" that the coalition MLAs will meet on Monday again before the start of the special session of the House to take a final decision.
"We will disclose our strategy on the floor of the House tomorrow," Narayanasamy said.
The CM-chaired meeting was attended by all three ministers, namely M Kandasamy, M O H F Shah Jahan, and R Kamalakannan, deputy Speaker M N R Balan, Congress MLAs Vidjeaveny and T Jayamoorthy, government whip R K R Anandaraman, DMK legislators R Siva and Geetha Anandan, the lone Lok Sabha member V Vaithilingam, and PCC president A V Subramanian.
(With inputs from agencies)