The government of the Indian National Congress (INC) in Puducherry will face a test of strength on 22 February, Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said today, citing the opposition’s stand that the ruling party no longer had a majority. With the government as well as the opposition falling short of the magic number 16, Puducherry is headed for president’s rule just three months before election if not the floor test settles the issue as of now.
Soundararajan, who took charge as lieutenant governor yesterday after the sudden removal of Kiran Bedi, reportedly called Chief Minister V Narayanasamy for a meeting this afternoon and handed over a letter asking him to prove his majority. The lieutenant governor said a floor test was needed to confirm whether the INC government still enjoys a majority, as letters from opposition parties suggested otherwise. The polling has to be completed by 5 PM on Monday.
A statement said the lieutenant governor had conveyed to the chief minister that the assembly would meet for a “single agenda, namely whether the government of the incumbent chief minister continues to enjoy the confidence of the House.”
In the 33-member assembly, the INC had 15 members and, along with the DMK’s three and one independent MLA, was just past the majority mark of 16.
Following the desertion by four INC MLAs, the Puducherry government and the opposition are both at 14. The INC now has 10 MLAs, leaving the government one short of the majority mark, which is now at 15 with the assembly strength reducing to 28.
Elections are due in Puducherry, along with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, by May.