The Congress Government in Puducherry fell on Monday after Chief Minister V Narayanasamy resigned ahead of the confidence vote in the Assembly after his coalition Ministry was reduced to a minority due to a spate of resignations of party MLAs and a DMK legislator recently.
Narayanasamy met Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and submitted the resignation of his four-member Cabinet, ahead of the Assembly elections due in April-May.
With the exit of the Congress Government in Puducherry days after the visit of former party president Rahul Gandhi to the Union Territory, now Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are the only three States in the country ruled by the grand old party.
Holding that Speaker VP Sivakolundhu did not put to vote the motion moved by him for a confidence vote, the Congress veteran said the former’s ruling that it stood defeated was “incorrect and invalid.” He said the party will see legal help surrounding the issue of voting rights of nominated members.
DMK chief MK Stalin, whose party is an ally of the Congress here, also slammed the Opposition for the fall of the Government and hailed Narayanasamy for “upholding democracy.”
TNCC President K S Alagiri said people will teach a lesson to BJP in the coming elections in the union territory (UT) for its “anti-people” activities.
The Opposition, led by NR Congress chief and Leader of Opposition N Rangasamy, said it has no plans to stake claim to form Government as of now and that discussions would be held.
Soundararajan had last week summoned the Assembly’s one-day special session on Monday, mandating its agenda should be confined only to trust vote.
After a fresh bout of resignations in the Congress camp on Sunday, the party position in the Assembly stood as follow: Congress nine, including 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.
Those who had resigned included former Ministers A Namassivayam (now in BJP) and Malladi Krishna Rao. On Monday, after mounting an attack on the Narendra Modi-led Centre and former Lt Governor Kiran Bedi with whom he had frequent run-ins on administrative matters, Narayanasamy led his colleagues out of the Assembly after a debate over the rights of nominated members to vote during the floor test.
Although in power in Maharashtra in alliance with the Shiv Sena and NCP, and in Jharkhand with the JMM, the grand old party is at best a second fiddle in these two major States. Congress’ electoral decline has remained more or less consistent since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, with the party losing power in Madhya Pradesh last year after the exit of stalwart Jyotiraditya Scindia over to the BJP.
Internal factionalism cost the Congress dearly in MP with Scindia’s desertion resulting in the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Government there.