Puducherry govt faces political storm, floor test on February 22

Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan orders floor test after four Congress MLAs resign

Puducherry govt faces political storm

Though they were not known to see eye to eye ever, the Congress in Puducherry cannot celebrate the sudden removal of Kiran Bedi as Puducherry Lieutenant Governor .  The Congress-led coalition government now faces a floor test ordered by the newly appointed Lt Gov vernor Tamilisai Soundararajan.

The Lt Gov ordered the floor test to be held on February 22, to ascertain the majority of the coalition. According to news reports, the Lt Gov’s orders were issued on Thursday and a statement issued. The Lt Gov has reportedly noted that both the ruling coalition and Opposition have a strength of 14 members each, in the legislative assembly. Therefore a floor test in the 30-member legislative assembly will be conducted. To govern, a party or coalition must have a majority of 16 is the magic number. According to the news reports “the voting shall take place by show of hands and the proceedings will be videographed.”

The news reports quoted the Lt Gov’s statement, “The floor test in pursuance of the above directions shall be concluded by 5 pm on 22.02.2021 and the proceedings shall not be adjourned/delayed or suspended at any cost.” The statement was issued just hours after Soundararajan took charge as the Lieutenant Governor of the Union territory. Puducherry is expected to go to polls in April-May this year.

It has often been reported that the now ex-Lt Gov Kiran Bedi, and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayansamy have never agreed on policy matters. She was suddenly sacked and the move set off speculations about the political future of the UT 



The  political crisis following resignations of Congress MLAs from the Narayanasamy-led government is now on razor’s edge. According to a report in the Financial Express  Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has already held a meeting with Congress MLAs on Thursday night, however, no decision on the future course of action seems to have been taken. Another meeting has been reportedly scheduled a day ahead of the trust vote. According to news reports, Narayanasamy has stated that the three nominated MLAs, who are all from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “do not have rights to vote on a confidence motion, and the Opposition strength was only 11 and not 14 as maintained by them.

Meanwhile, it is reported by Indian Express that the Congress now has ten MLAs, including the speaker, and its ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has three MLAs. This was the tally after four Congress MLAs resigned this year. Two of those have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now.

Kiran Bedi’s sudden removal as Puducherry Lt Governor, has taken away the Congress’ biggest election issue, claims the BJP. According to a NDTV report it was Chief Minister V Narayanasamy who reportedly had been seeking Bedi’s removal for long. However, the timing now is putting his own government at risk as it comes after the MLAs resignation. It is evident that the removal may impact the polls, even if the floor test is passed by the Congress government.  

According to NDTV, Congress had “accused” Kiran Bedi of “blocking every move of its government and putting up hurdles in its way”  when she was Lt Gov. Narayanasamy was reportedly in Delhi last Malladi Kweek “to request President Ram Nath Kovind to remove her as Lieutenant Governor.” However Malladi Krishna Rao the Congress MLA who went with him is among the four who have resigned since January. The others are, A Namassivayam and E.Theeppainjan, who have since joined the BJP, now Rao and John Kumar may also do so, state news reports.

It is not known yet if Kiran Bedi will get another appointment as Governor soon, or will she return to electoral politics, or even retire. The appointment of Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan was almost instantaneous. According to NDTV, if the Congress government fell short of a majority, President’s rule may be imposed in the UT. 

The BJP is reported to have tasked senior leaders Arjun Meghwal and Rajiv Chandrashekhar, with managing the upcoming Puducherry polls.  



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