The battle between Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and its Chief Minister Narayanswamy reached new heights on Tuesday night, when two BJP and an NDA sympathiser were nominated as MLAs to the territorial assembly.
The nominees included BJP Puducherry unit president V Saminathan, treasurer KG Shankar and private school chairman Selvaganapathy. The move has left the elected Congress Government which usually recommends names fuming but has done little to rattle the LG and the handpicked trio she recommended to the Home Ministry.
In an interview to TNM, the UT's BJP President and newly appointed MLA V Saminathan said that this initiation into the Assembly marks the beginning of the end of the Congress regime in Puducherry.
"The BJP has been growing in Puducherry and exposing this government. By the next election there will be no Congress left in this Union Territory," declares Saminathan.
The MLA further dismisses claims that convention dictates the ruling Government have a say in the matter. "It is for the Central Government to decide which three MLAs are inducted. We had received the necessary orders from the Home Ministry," says Saminathan. "Earlier the Centre was also Congress, so they would just ask these leaders but that is not the case now," he explains.
When asked if this would further strain relations between the government and LG, the MLA is quick to defend Kiran Bedi. "She has been questioning the corruption here and that is bothering them. The Congress MLAs have each amassed hundreds of crore through corruption. Even all the local rowdies are in their control," he claims. "Look at CENTAC for instance. If the LG didn't talk about it, would they have been exposed?" he asks.
But Saminathan too has cases of rioting against him. "No politician or social activist can do his duty without the police registering some kind of case accusing him of disruption. But go look at the cases against Congress MLAs. They are as grave as murder and land grabbing," he adds.
But this new MLA had lost the 2011 and 2017 assembly elections that he stood for by a wide margin. "So what?" asks Saminathan. "The Chief Minister also lost in the Lok Sabha elections. Where Congress spent crores for campaigning, the BJP attempted to only focus on discussing important issue with people," he claims.
However, that is not the only problem dogging these MLAs. The ruling government claims that the three MLAs do not represent different communities. "I am a politician, Shankar is a businessman and Selvaganapathy is an educationalist. Is that not diverse enough? Do we have to nominate only based on caste and religion?" he asks.
Then, if they were so confident about the move, why was the entire swearing-in ceremony such a quiet affair with not even the speaker present? "Well, don't worry. The celebrations will all begin now," says Saminathan.