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Congress Govt in Puducherry loses majority as four MLAs resign
Leader of Opposition N Rangasamy has demanded the resignation of CM V Narayanasamy in the wake of four Congress MLAs resigning and the party losing majority support. Rangasamy does not rule out staking claim to form Government.

PUDUCHERRY, Feb 16: On the eve of the Assembly elections, the Congress Government in the Puducherry Union Territory has lost majority with four party MLAs resigning from their Assembly seats and one MLA having been disqualified earlier. The Congress, which had 15 seats, had the support of three DMK MLAs and one independent in the 30-member Assembly.

After the four resignations and one disqualification, the Government has the support of 14 MLAs, while the Opposition too has 14 MLAs, including three nominated MLAs of the BJP who have voting rights. The House has 28 MLAs at present.

Of the four resignations two are of Ministers - A Namassivayam and Malladi Krishna Rao. The other two MLAs are E Theeppainthan and John Kumar. Namassivayam and Theeppainthan have joined the BJP, according to reports. The disqualified Congress MLA is N Dhanavelu.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, the Congress had won 15 seats, and it was supported by DMK which had got three seats and by one Independent. The Opposition NR Congress had won seven seats and its alliance partner AIADMK four.

Lt Governor Kiran Bedi nominated three MLAs from the BJP with voting rights, the strength of the 30-member Assembly moving up to 33.

Following the development, Opposition led by Leader of Opposition N Rangasamy demanded the resignation of Chief Minister V Narayanasamy. He claimed that the Government has lost majority. He has not ruled out staking claim to form a Government.

The Chief Minister has been accusing Lt Governor Kiran Bedi of not allowing him to function.

Narayanasamy had said he had sought an appointment with the President to bring to his notice that interference by Bedi was blocking routine governance. He alleged that officials were also being threatened by the Lt Governor. The Chief Minister accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bedi of plotting to merge Puducherry with neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The development comes just before Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's visit to Puducherry on Wednesday to prepare for the elections due in May.

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