In a huge setback for the ruling Congress in Puducherry, yet another MLA has quit their ranks and has resigned ahead of the floor test on Monday. This would mean that the Narayanasamy led government has only 13 MLAs including the speaker while the opposition has 14 MLAs. Raj Bhavan constituency MLA Lakshminarayanan tendered his resignation to Assembly Speaker V P Sivakolundhu at his residence.
Speaking to the media after submitting his letter, he said, "The ruling party has only 13 MLAs. Irrespective of whether I am there or not there will be no change (in the floor test). This was comfortable for me. I didn't get due respect in the party and government. I was quiet all this time because I didn't want the party to topple because of me. Now my resignation does not make a difference."
The 33 member Puducherry assembly has five vacancies now, after the resignation of the MLA on Sunday. In the last month alone four Congress MLAs â€” including ex-Ministers A. Namassivayam and Malladi Krishna Rao had quit, while another party legislator was earlier disqualified.
John Kumar, who was a close confidante of the Chief Minister, had resigned on Tuesday. MLA E Theeppainthan submitted his resignation on January 25. Amid these growing tensions, the Chief Minister held multiple cabinet meetings to discuss the party's fate and how to tackle the floor test.
An leader in the Congress party, on the condition of anonymity told TNM that the ruling government is working towards ensuring that nominated MLAs do not get a vote and added that members from the opposition have promised to vote for the Congress when it came down to a floor test.
The Union Government last week, removed Kiran Bedi as the Lieutenant governor of Puducherry and has appointed former Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan to the post. Following this, the opposition led by NR Congress requested the governor to call for a floor test as the ruling government had lost its majority.
As of now, the ruling government has 9 Congress MLAs, 3 DMK MLAs and one independent MLA. The NDA meanwhile has 7 NR Congress MLAs, 4 AIADMK MLAs and 3 nominated BJP MLAs.