The rise of the BJP in Pondicherry came at the expense of the allies
MAY 9, HOURS before testing positive for Covid-19, the Chief Minister of Pondicherry and President of the All India NR Congress, N. Rangasamy, wrote to Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to nominate K. Lakshminarayanan as pro-tem president of the Assembly. Shortly after, the chief minister was admitted to a private hospital. When he returned home on May 20, he was surprised to learn that the date had been suspended.
Lakshminarayanan was appointed on May 21 and was sworn in by the lieutenant governor on May 26, more than a fortnight after the chief minister proposed his name. Rangasamy found it difficult to choose his own practice. Although his inner circle cites health reasons, highly placed sources within the AINRC attribute him to the new influence of the BJP.
It all started in the first week of March, when Rangasamy signed an alliance pact with the BJP. The national party was not present in the territory of the Union. Its three appointed deputies entered the assembly thanks to the support of former Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi. All three, including unit president V. Saminathan, had lost their deposits in the 2016 polls.
In 2021, the BJP wanted deputies elected in Pondicherry. And so, he started poaching congressmen in January. The Congressional government, headed by V. Narayanasamy, had spent most of its time fighting Bedi, and therefore was not focusing on internal affairs. He could not keep his promises to the people either. Thus, he was faced with anti-outgoing and internal turmoil, and was decimated at the polls.
Congress now has two seats against 15 of the 30 seats elected last time, and its share of the vote has been halved. The party’s state chairman, AV Subramanian, has lost his bail. The BJP improved its share of the vote by more than 10% and won six seats. He once again appointed three deputies. Two of the appointed MPs had joined the BJP just before the ballot – K. Venkatesan, former MP for Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and VP Ramalingam, brother of former Congress president VP Sivakolundhu. RB Ashok Babu, a lawyer and chairman of the BJP municipal unit, was the third MP elected. They were appointed on May 10, while Rangasamy was hospitalized in Chennai. Pro-tem President Lakshminarayanan, too, had left Congress to join AINRC on the eve of the poll.
An AINRC MP, who requested anonymity, told LA WEEK that the BJP does not share the names of appointed MPs, even with Rangasamy, “even after their appointment.” The AINRC has 10 elected deputies, the BJP now has nine in total. “They have the support of an independent MP, which means they have 10 MPs,” added the AINRC MP. We learn that the BJP is trying to get more support; only one of the six independents declared their support for the AINRC. At least two more are expected to support the BJP. So there could be 12 or more MPs in the 33-member assembly – versus 11 of the AINRC.
Rangasamy and his team feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back by their allies. Although MPs were sworn in on May 26, the assembly would only be called after the BJP and AINRC reached consensus on ministerial posts and the post of president. “They (the BJP) demand lucrative wallets,” the AINRC MP said. “It’s up to our boss to decide. He hasn’t spoken to any of us so far. We don’t know what’s going on. Rangasamy has been at home since his release and sources said he could not be reached, even by officials from the chief minister’s office.
We learn that the BJP is demanding the creation of a post of chief deputy minister and plum portfolios, including education and finance. It is said that Rangasamy, a humble and spiritual man, did not expect this from BJP. Former Pondicherry Congress leader A. Namassivayam, who won this time with a BJP ticket, is apparently claiming the post of deputy chief minister. He is also Rangasamy’s relative. LA WEEK’s attempts to reach Namassivayam for his comments failed.
Meanwhile, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, who was also part of the NDA alliance, is also upset with the BJP. AIADMK contested four seats and lost all four. Sources said AIADMK was hoping to have one of its former MPs appointed to the house.
The DMK has six MPs and is the largest opposition party. Sources said that although the DMK did not approach the AINRC to form the government, the deputies and members of the Union Territory office told the party chairman, MK Stalin, that they would like to do so. part of government.
Although a Union territory, Pondicherry is truly the heart of Tamil. And, thanks to his machinations during Bedi’s tenure as lieutenant governor, the BJP is bigger than Congress and the Dravidian parties, for the time being.