The Congress government in Puducherry has slipped into a minority with two resignations in two days but Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said today that he was confident of persuading the two leaders to stay. “Our government is not in a minority,” he told NDTV.
The resignations of Malladi Krishna Rao and John Kumar, who quit back-to-back, have not been accepted and were still being considered by the Speaker, Mr Narayanasamy said. He also hit out at the BJP, accusing them of planning another “operation Kamal (lotus)” – the opposition’s name for what they call the BJP’s strategy of engineering defections and toppling governments – in Puducherry
Four Congress MLAs have quit just months before Puducherry polls due by May. A Namassivayam and E.Theeppainjan resigned on January 25. Malladi Krishna Rao quit yesterday and John Kumar, today.
Just four days ago, Malladi Krishna Rao had travelled to Delhi with Mr Narayanasamy to meet with President Ram Nath Kovind and request that Kiran Bedi be replaced as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
The Chief Minister appeared to sidestep a question on the embarrassment of Mr Rao turning against him so soon after that trip. His response focused on his unrelenting feud with Kiran Bedi.
“We met the President because Malladi Krishna Rao had been harassed by Kiran Bedi several times. She has targeted him. She has rejected whatever proposal is related to his constituency. I have been fighting for him for at least four years. Kiran Bedi has been interfering in the day-to-day administration of our government and she has been trying to create problems…The people of Puducherry know it. Opposition parties were also targeting us. It was a difficult task for me to run the government for four years and nine months. But in spite of it our government delivered the services to the people,” he said.
Mr Rao’s resignation was out of irritation with Kiran Bedi, Mr Narayanasamy claimed.
“He was agitated because Kiran Bedi was blocking all his projects. He is still with me. I am confident I can persuade him,” he said.
Mr Rao is believed to be headed to the BJP, like the others who quit before him, and more leaders are believed to be in the queue.
“This is the BJP’s style of functioning. They will poach and buy MLAs. They have done it in Manipur, Arunachal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh…they are only purchasing MLAs. Shame on the BJP for targeting elected Congress governments,” the Chief Minister said.