Puducherry Legislative Assembly today saw a the scheduled floor test that the INC-led coalition failed to pass, leading to the collapse of its government. The trust vote was necessitated by the Indian National Congress (INC)-led coalition government’s loss of six MLAs since January, including two on 21 February, which resulted in its loss of a majority.
In all, the ruling coalition had lost seven MLAs since last July (six INC, one DMK). The INC’ strength in the 33-member assembly is down to 9, including the speaker, while that of the ruling alliance is at 12. Ally DMK, one of whose MLAs quit on 21 February, is at two while one independent lawmaker supports the government.
Outgping Chief Minister V Narayanasamy of the INC faced a challenging task as the opposition had 14 members in the house, where the effective strength has now come down to 26, with 14 becoming the majority mark. Of the five INC MLAs who resigned since January, two were ministers, one of whom joined the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Two INC lawmakers joined the BJP, both of whom had quit last month.
The union territory or quasi-state of Puducherry is likely to go to polls in April or May.
INC-led government fails to prove majority in Puducherry assembly
As Narayanasamy and INC-led alliance walked out today, the speaker announced that the government had failed to prove its majority in the House.
The legislative assembly elections are likely to take place in Puducherry in April/May. The INC-led coalition was victorious in the previous elections, in 2016.
Last week, Puducherry had witnessed the removal of Kiran Bedi as Lieutenant-Governor. For four-and-a-half years, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy had campaigned for Kiran Bedi’s removal but when it did happen, it was at a time his government looked shaky. The union territory’s new Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan called the floor test on Monday citing the opposition’s stand that the ruling party no longer has a majority.
Elections are due by May in Puducherry and neighbouring Tamil Nadu, besides Kerala, West Bengal and Assam. The BJP does not expect much from Tamil Nadu and Kerala at this point, but feels it has a better chance in Puducherry, with the Congress weakened.