The BJP in Puducherry received a shot in the arm on Thursday when two senior Congress leaders joined the party as the Union Territory goes to Assembly polls in April-May. A Namassivayam, who was PWD Minister in incumbent V Narayanasamy's cabinet, and E Theepainthan, a legislator, had quit their MLA posts on Monday.
The duo joined the BJP in New Delhi in the presence of senior leaders. Later, Namassivayam and Theepainthan met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP President J P Nadda. The development comes as a boost for the BJP which hardly has any base in the UT.
DH had on January 22 reported that two ministers and three legislators from Congress are in touch with the BJP and might join the saffron party. Namassivayam, who lost the Chief Minister's chair to Narayanasamy in 2016, has been upset with the “functioning” of the Chief Minister for quite some time. He was suspended from the Congress on January 25 for “anti-party” activities.
The rebellion by Congress MLAs come months before the Union Territory is set to face Assembly polls. The DMK, which is an ally of Congress, is also toying with the idea of ditching the senior partner and going alone.
In a house of 30, Congress has 12 seats, DMK (3), and Independent (1). The Opposition camp has 11 members – 7 seats are held by N R Congress and 4 by AIADMK. One seat is vacant and the number will rise to three once the resignations of Namassivayam and Theepainthan are accepted.