Rangasamy to expand his cabinet on June 27

Rangasamy to expand his cabinet on June 27; 2 BJP MLAs find place

Being part of a coalition government in Puducherry is a giant leap for the BJP which had a negligible presence in the UT

Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy. Credit: PTI Photo

Over 50 days after he was sworn in, Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy will expand his cabinet on Sunday by inducting five members, including two from the BJP. A Namassivayam, a Congress who jumped the ship to the BJP on the eve of elections, will be the no. 2 in the six-member cabinet headed by Rangasamy.

As reported by DH on June 24, Namassivayam and A K Sai J Saravanan Kumar will be the BJP nominees in the cabinet. The name of another turncoat A Johnkumar, who followed suit Namassivayam from Congress, does not figure in the list submitted by Rangasamy to Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan.

Being part of a coalition government in Puducherry is a giant leap for the BJP which had a negligible presence in the UT until about a few months ago. It poached leaders from the Congress, destabilized the then V Narayanaswamy government, and stitched up an alliance with AINRC.

From the All India N R Congress, the senior partner, K Lakshminarayanan, C Djeacoumar and Chandira Priyanga will be the ministers. A gazette notification issued by Puducherry Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar made the names of the ministers’ public quoting an order from Govind Mohan, Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The new ministers will be sworn in at a simple event at the Raj Nivas at 2.30 pm on Sunday. L-G Tamilisai Soundararajan will administer oath of office and secrecy to the ministers.

With the official announcement on the swearing-in and names of the ministers to be sworn in, the nearly two-month-long political logjam between AINRC and BJP has come to an end.

Rangasamy played the hardball with the BJP after it unilaterally nominated three party leaders to the Assembly without consulting him – the appointments were made when the Chief Minister was being treated for Covid-19 at a private hospital in Chennai. After several rounds of talks, issues between the two parties have been sorted out.

Sources said Namassivayam, who is closely related to the Chief Minister, will be the no. 2 in the cabinet. However, he is unlikely to designated as deputy chief minister as demanded by the BJP.

AINRC won 10 seats, while BJP emerged victorious in six seats and its strength in the assembly now stands at 9, thanks to the Centre’s power to appoint three nominated members. DMK won six, Congress (2), and Independents (six).

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