2021: Puducherry's political churnings saw fall of govt

Puducherry's political churnings saw fall of elected government in 2021

There are three nominated members belonging to BJP

Chief Minister N Rangasamy hands over a list recommending allocation of portfolios to five ministers newly inducted in his cabinet to Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, in Puducherry. Credit: PTI File Photo

Fall of the elected Congress-led coalition government, a short period of President's rule, BJP's significant electoral gains in the Assembly polls, the return of N Rangasamy as Chief Minister and torrential rains -- 2021 had enough in store for this small union territory.

A spate of defections in the then Chief Minister V Narayanasamy-led cabinet, triggered by senior party leader and PWD Minister A Namassivayam, culminated in the fall of the Congress-DMK coalition government on February 22 this year, with the AINRC-led NDA storming to power three months later where the BJP scored its first electoral wins in the UT, resulting in the saffron party's expanding its southern footprint.

The political crisis started on January 25 with a virtually sudden resignation by Namassivayam as a minister as well as a legislator, with three more, including then-Speaker K Lakshminarayanan, who later joined the AINRC, subsequently parting ways with the grand old party. DMK MLA K Venkatesan also resigned.

With the crisis deepening, Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararjan, who succeeded Kiran Bedi after she was removed from office, directed Narayanasamy to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the House on February 22.

However, Narayanasamy, who tabled the motion of confidence, did not face the confidence vote but tendered his ministry's resignation to the L-G in the backdrop of lack of majority. President's rule was subsequently imposed for a short period.

The Assembly poll held on April 6 witnessed the AINRC and BJP emerging victorious in 16 of the total 30 constituencies to form the ministry, the BJP, in particular, having more reasons to smile as it netted six seats in its first electoral success in the UT.

AIADMK, which was also part of the NDA, drew a blank in the polls.

There are three nominated members belonging to BJP. The Congress could return just two seats while the DMK and independents won six each.

The cabinet formation of the NDA was no smooth affair as Chief Minister Rangasamy, who alone took the oath initially in early May after returning power after five years, was hospitalised with Covid-19. Later, a tug of war ensued between him and the BJP as it wanted Namassivayam to be made the CM's deputy.

However, Rangasamy, a veteran, did not relent from his stand not to have a deputy CM. Later, the BJP was given the post of Speaker and two cabinet berths, and the ministry formation took place at the fag end of June this year.

The saffron party was also allotted the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the UT. Incidentally, the cabinet has a woman member after a gap of 38 years.

Ahead of the polls, then chief minister Narayanasamy made a faux pas when he translated complaints into compliments, to his party leader Rahul Gandhi during his visit here, after a fisherwoman aired her grievances at a meeting attended by the Wayanad MP, drawing criticism from various quarters.

Heavy rains hit Puducherry and Karaikal regions during the last quarter of the year, leading to inundation in many parts.

Also read: Rains continue to lash Puducherry, normal life hit

A Central team visited the affected areas to assess the damage and the territorial government has sought interim relief of Rs 300 crore to tackle the situation arising out of the natural fury.

The State Election Commission made an unsuccessful bid to hold civic polls as petitions were filed against its move to conduct the elections without making reservation of wards for the BCs and STs.

As the Covid-19 wave continued through 2020, Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan personally took up the awareness on vaccination and went door to door to meet citizens and persuade them to take the jabs. 

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