Puducherry’s V Narayanasamy-led Indian National Congress (INC) government is now in the minority, as its strength has come down to 10 with the resignation of lawmaker A John Kumar on 16 February. Kumar’s resignation came a day after health minister Malladi Krishna Rao put in his papers. He is the fourth INC MLA to have quit over the last month.
Kumar’s resignation came a day before INC leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Union territory as part of preparations for the assembly polls in April-May this year.
Two ministers, A Namassivayam and E Theepaindan, earlier resigned in January and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Another INC lawmaker, N Dhanavelu, was disqualified in July for anti-party activities. In the 2016 polls, INC won 15 seats in the 30-assembly. It has the support of three Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam lawmakers and independent legislator N Ramachandran. The opposition All India NR Congress has seven seats and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam four. The BJP has three nominated members in the House.
The INC has earlier lost power in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka after the resignations of its lawmakers.
Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address a public meeting in Puducherry during his day-long visit on 17 February. He will be in poll-bound Tamil Nadu for three days from 27 February.
Narayanasamy had informed that Rahul Gandhi will address fishermen in Solai Nagar, Muthialpet and later interact with students of the Bharathidasan Government College for women.
Puducherry will go to the Assembly polls along with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, in the next few months. Narayanasamy said INC would fight the polls in alliance with the parties constituting the secular democratic alliance including the DMK. However, in a big blow, the DMK has named its own chief minister face, with the ongoing resignation spree thought to be somehow related, targeted at the INC party itself.