Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Thursday ordered assembly floor test on February 22 at 5 pm to ascertain whether the Congress government in the union territory enjoys majority.
The announcement came in the wake of a spate of resignations by the ruling party MLAs that has reduced its strength to 14.
Moreover, Puducherry BJP President V Saminathan today said “Narayanasamy has lost the majority and his claim of having the majority is false. His government will fall on February 22. All 14 Opposition MLAs are united.”
The strength of both the ruling and opposition camps stand at 14 in the 33-member house, including three nominated legislators of the BJP. The assembly has five vacancies. Congress’ own strength is ten, including the Speaker, while its ally DMK has three members. An independent also supports the government.
The Lt Governor has conveyed to Narayanasamy that the Assembly will meet on Monday and be confined to a “single agenda, namely whether the government of the incumbent Chief Minister continues to enjoy the confidence of the House,” it said. Voting shall take place by show of hands and the entire proceedings be videographed, it said. “The floor test in pursuance of the above directions shall be concluded by 5 pm on 22.02.2021 and the proceedings shall not be adjourned/delayed or suspended at any cost,” it said.
Earlier, Soundararajan assumed additional charge of the union territory of Puducherry and said she will function as a “people’s Governor” and according to the Constitution.
She said she had not come to Puducherry with any ulterior motive but to serve the people.
The fifth woman to be appointed Lt Governor of the Union Territory, Soundararajan was sworn in at a simple function at the Raj Nivas where she took oath in Tamil.
She succeeds Kiran Bedi.
In a sudden development on Tuesday, Bedi was removed as Lt Governor of Puducherry, with President Ram Nath Kovind giving additional charge of the UT to the Telangana governor “with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office, until regular arrangements for the office of Lieutenant- Governor of Puducherry are made”. Soundararajan’s taking charge comes at a time when the ruling Congress-led government has lost its majority after one more party MLA quit the party on Tuesday, the total number being four.
When her attention was drawn towards the opposition plea with the LG’s office on Wednesday seeking direction to the CM to prove majority on the floor of the House in the wake of the ruling party’s depleted strength, Soundararajan said, “I am aware of this…”
“…I will go through the representation thoroughly in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution, she said, adding, she would “hold the scales even.”
Elections are due in Puducherry, along with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, by May.
With agency inputs