5 ministers inducted into Puducherry cabinet; PM Modi tweets his 'best wishes'
Puducherry's first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was sworn-in on Sunday as five legislators were inducted as ministers into chief minister N Rangasamy's cabinet. The five MLAs, three from Rangasamy's All India NR Congress (AINRC) and two from ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were administered oath of office by lieutenant governor Tamilisai Soundararajan at the Raj Nivas.
With this, the strength of the Rangasamy-led cabinet has risen to six, including the chief minister, who was sworn-in alone on May 7, five days after the AINRC-led NDA emerged victorious in the single-phase Puducherry assembly elections, which were held on April 6.
The five legislators who were administered oath of office are A Namassivayam and Sai Sarvanan Kumar of the BJP, along with K Lakshminarayanan, C Dijeacoumar and Chandira Priyanga of the AINRC. Their respective assembly constituencies are Mannadipet, Ossudu, Raj Bhavan, Mangalam and Nedungadu. Priyanga, in fact, is the first woman minister in the Union territory in more than four decades, according to news agency PTI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate the new ministers. "Best wishes to all those who took oath as ministers in Puducherry today. May this team work with determination and fulfil the aspirations of the wonderful people of Puducherry," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
Earlier, the cabinet formation was delayed to various reasons. A day after his swearing-in, CM Rangasamy contracted Covid-19 and was hospitalised at a private hospital in Chennai. Negotiations between the AINRC and the BJP over cabinet portfolios also contributed to this delay.
Together, the coalition has 16 directly elected members in the Puducherry legislative assembly: 10 from the AINRC and six from the BJP. While the former contested on 16 seats, the latter fielded candidates on nine seats. The total strength of the assembly is 33, of which 30 are elected by the voters and the remaining three are nominated by the central government. Since the BJP is in power at the Centre, the party nominated three of its members as MLAs, taking its total strength in the House to nine.
In February, the previous Congress-led government collapsed just months before the completion of its five-year term. Since no party or coalition staked claim to form government, Puducherry was put under President's Rule.