Puducherry Floor Test: Congress Worried, Opposition Hopeful
“I took this decision because the party didn’t give me due recognition in the government,” the Congress MLA said.
With two more MLAs – Congress MLA K Lakshminarayanan and DMK MLA K Venkatesan – turning in their resignation letters, the numbers are stacked against Chief Minister V Narayanasamy’s government ahead of the trust vote in the Assembly.
The MLAs resigned on Sunday, 21 February, and the floor test is underway in the Assembly on Monday, 22 February.
Four-time Congress MLA Lakshminarayanan, while putting in his papers, said he is upset over not getting "recognition" in the party. He said he will leave the party, too.
Four Congress MLAs – including former ministers A Namassivayam and Malladi Krishna Rao – quit earlier, while another party legislator was disqualified for anti-party activities last year.
‘BJP Trying to Bring Down a Democratically-Elected Government’
Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has accused the opposition BJP of trying to topple his government. He alleged that the party has done the same to topple Congress governments in states like Goa, Manipur, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.
"We have decided we will disclose our strategy on the floor of the Assembly," the Chief Minister said on Sunday.
“The BJP is behind all these things. They are all out to bring down a democratically-elected government. This is an attempt to bury democracy.”Narayanasamy, Puducherry CM
Disappointing Numbers for Congress
Taking into the account the spate of resignations that has been plaguing the Congress, it is most likely that the government would get defeated in the floor test.
The strength of the Legislative Assembly is 33. This includes 30 elected MLAs and three MLAs nominated by the Lieutenant Governor.
In 2016 Assembly elections, the Congress had won 15 seats. One MLA was disqualified by the party last year under the anti-defection law. Another five have resigned, including the one who quit on Sunday. The Congress currently has nine MLAs in its fold.
The Congress is supported in the Assembly by the DMK. The latter had three MLAs, but now has only two as one of the MLAs resigned on Sunday.
In total, the Congress-DMK coalition has the support of 12 MLAs, including an independent MLA. The rival NR Congress-led alliance has 14 MLAs. The House is now 26-members strong.
Possible Scenarios During Floor Test
Here are four possible scenarios that can be imagined:
Option 1: Government to Fall, CM Will Be Forced to Resign
Despite several opposition leaders demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, he has refused to do so. Analysts opined he could be pushing BJP to sack him after the floor test, which could help him play the victim card during the Assembly elections which are three months away.
Option 2: Speaker Comes Into Play, Disqualifying Some MLAs
With the recent spate of resignations, Speaker VP Sivakozhundu could note that there has been evidence of horse-trading in a conspiracy attempt to topple the government. The Speaker could then disqualify some opposition MLAs.
Option 3: Going the BJP Way
If the Chief Minister manages to convince few of the Congress MLAs who have resigned to return to the party, then he could make up. The most likely targets would be the four AIADMK MLAs in the opposition camp, and even if they abstain from the floor test, it will work in his favour.
Option 4 : Government Is Dissolved, President Rule Imposed
If both the government and the Opposition fall short of numbers, Puducherry is likely headed for a President's rule, just three months before elections. Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan can take the decision to dissolve the government and send a report to the Centre recommending President’s rule in Puducherry. It is to be noted that she was the former Tamil Nadu state president of the BJP.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.