Puducherry cabinet, including first woman minister in decades, to take oath today
President Ram Nath Kovind gave his approval to the list of cabinet members submitted by chief minister Rangasamy to Soundararajan earlier this week.
More than a month after the Puducherry election results were announced, five legislators of the N Rangasamy-led coalition cabinet will be sworn in as ministers by Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Sunday. The swearing-in ceremony for the ministers, including three AINRC members and two BJP leaders, will be held at 2.30pm on Sunday in front of the Lt Governor’s office and residence, Raj Nivas.
President Ram Nath Kovind gave his approval to the list of cabinet members submitted by chief minister Rangasamy to Soundararajan earlier this week. A Puducherry Gazette notification, according to news agency PTI, said that "the President has been pleased to appoint" A Namassivayam, K Lakshminarayanan, C Djeacoumar, Chandira Priyanga and AK Sai J Saravana Kumar as ministers in the cabinet. Lakshminarayanan, Djeacoumar and Priyanga are from the All India NR Congress and Namassivayam, who left the Congress before the Puducherry assembly elections polls, and Saravana Kumar are from its ally the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Rangasamy submitted the list of the members to be included in his cabinet to Soundararajan on Wednesday, more than two months after the AINRC-BJP alliance won the April 6 assembly elections. AINRC founder Rangasamy was sworn in as Puducherry’s chief minister on May 7 and BJP's 'Embalam' R Selvam was elected unopposed as the Speaker of the 33-member assembly on June 16.
The AINRC-led alliance won the Puducherry assembly elections in the Union territory after the then Congress-led regime collapsed in February. Infighting in the BJP, with supporters of all the six elected MLAs lobbying for cabinet posts, were among the several reasons behind the delay in the cabinet formation. Then Rangaswamy contracted Covid-19, a day after he took oath on May 7, and the newly-elected MLAs were sworn in on May 26. Negotiations between the AINRC and BJP over the number of cabinet berths also lead to the delay.
According to PTI, Puducherry would get its first woman minister in over four decades with Priyanga taking the oath of office on Sunday afternoon. Late Congress leaders Renuka Appadurai was the last woman minister in Puducherry during 1980-83 and handled the education portfolio in the MDR Ramachandran-led coalition. This will also be the first time that the BJP is part of a ministry in the Union territory.
The AINRC won 10 out of 16 seats it contested and the BJP managed six out of nine seats. The coalition also has the support of three nominated members belonging to the BJP.