Crucial floor test for Congress-DMK govt in Puducherry as assembly election looms
The Congress-led coalition government in Puducherry faces a crucial floor test in the assembly on Monday, just months ahead of the assembly election in the Union Territory. The government has till 5pm to prove its strength in the House following the exit of seven MLAs since July last year.
Chief minister V Narayanasamy has sought a confidence vote for his government, as the territorial assembly met for a special session for a floor test of his five-year-old government on Monday. Moving the motion, the chief minister told the assembly that his government had the majority.
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The Congress' strength in the 33-member assembly is down to nine at present, including the Speaker, while that of the ruling alliance is at 12. Ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has two members in the assembly while an independent lawmaker also backs the alliance in the assembly.
The coalition government has lost six Congress MLAs since January, including two on Feb 21 and one from the DMK. Of the five Congress MLAs who have resigned since January, two were ministers, one of whom joined the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Two Congress legislators have joined the BJP, both of whom quit last month.
While the majority mark is at 14 following the resignations, the effective strength of the House has now come down to 26. It is a crucial test for Congress in Puducherry after it lost power in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka in a similar manner in the last two years.
Ahead of the floor test, Narayanasamy, in an address to the House said, “Those elected by people must govern Puducherry.” "Those rejected by people conspired to topple our government but we stayed firm due to our resilience,” the chief minister said in an apparent reference to former lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi.
He also hailed measures taken by his government for the welfare of farmers. “We had waived of cooperative farm loans when we formed the government… For small farmers, PM Modi is giving ₹6000. We are giving 37,500,” he claimed.
He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bedi of stifling their government and asserted “we are able to govern for the welfare of people.” “Along with MLAs, we have been on the ground, working for people during Covid 19,” he added.
(With agency inputs)
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- In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress won the only Lok Sabha seat of the Union territory.
- Gandhi's visit comes at a time when chief minister V Narayanasamy is facing a number of defections; his close aide and fellow minister A John Kumar of the Congress resigned as MLA on Tuesday.