K Lakshminarayanan

Just a day before the floor test in the Assembly, the crisis for Congress in Puducherry deepened with one more MLA resigning on Sunday. Congress legislator K Lakshminarayanan, who had been elected from the Raj Bhavan constituency, handed over his resignation letter to Puducherry Assembly Speaker VP Sivakozhundu at the latter’s residence.

“I took this decision because the party didn’t give me due recognition in the government and in the organisation,” Lakshminarayanan told reporters. Later, he also resigned from the party membership.

On being asked if he will join any other party, he said, “I will be joining, as per decision of people of my constituency.”

With Lakshminarayanan’s resignation, the strength of the Congress party in the Assembly has been now reduced to 13, which is one short of the majority mark. The opposition has 14 MLAs in the 33-member House which has five vacancies.

Four Congress MLAs, including ex-ministers A Namassivayam (now in BJP) and Malladi Krishna Rao, had quit, while another party legislator was earlier disqualified.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, handed over additional charge of Puducherry, had on Thursday directed Narayanasamy to prove majority by ordering a floor test on February 22.

Lakshminarayanan’s resignation comes on a day when the ruling party members are slated to meet under the Chief Minister to discuss the future course of action though similar discussions on February 18 yielded no results.

Earlier Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, with whom the government has had a long-running battle, was removed and the additional charge handed over to Soundararajan.

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has said that Bedi’s removal was “a long pending demand of the Puducherry people”. Bedi, he said, “was behaving in an autocratic manner, violating the rules of business, trying to run a parallel government, (and) issuing independent orders against the wishes of the elected government…”

The development happened on the same day Narayanasamy’s government appeared to have lost majority following the resignation of two MLAs in two days.

[With inputs from PTI]

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