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Puducherry: NR Congress, BJP reach deal for Cabinet

Puducherry BJP chief V Saminathan said a consensus had been reached, and that the party had demanded the post of Speaker and some ministerial posts. “An announcement will be made on Thursday,” he said.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
Updated: June 3, 2021 6:11:08 am
N Rangasamy

A month after poll results were announced, Puducherry might finally have a new Cabinet by June 7, with leaders of the ruling NR Congress-BJP alliance indicating a deal had been reached in talks.

Puducherry BJP chief V Saminathan said a consensus had been reached, and that the party had demanded the post of Speaker and some ministerial posts. “An announcement will be made on Thursday,” he said.

The BJP was earlier insisting on at least three important posts, including of Deputy CM, Speaker and at least one minister. The NR Congress led by Chief Minister N Rangasamy felt this excessive given that the Union territory’s Lt Governor, Tamilisai Soundararajan, is the BJP’s former Tamil Nadu chief.

BJP CM candidate A Namasivayam, the son-in-law of Rangasamy’s elder brother, is likely to be the No. 2 in the new Cabinet. Namasivayam held similar position in the previous Congress government and had joined the BJP ahead of the elections.

Namasivayam’s resignation from the Congress had been followed by exit from the party of half-a-dozen MLAs, leading to the collapse of its government just before the polls.

While there was no official word from Rangasamy, sources close to him said Delhi had been putting pressure on him to reach a deal.

Of 30 seats in the Puducherry Assembly, the NR Congress holds 10 and the BJP six. However, the BJP also has three Independents backing it, while the three nominated MLAs are likely to stand by it.

The nomination of the MLAs is also a cause of friction within the alliance as the Lt Governor reportedly named the same without consultation with the NR Congress. On Wednesday, the Madras High Court dismissed a plea, seen as backed by the Rangasamy camp, against the nominations.

The Opposition Congress-DMK alliance holds eight seats in the Assembly.

While both camps hinted Wednesday that all problems had been ironed out, a senior BJP leader in Chennai said there may be some changes in the Cabinet after the pandemic threat has passed, including in the CM post. Namasivayam was not the only choice, he said. “The party leadership could also consider Soundararajan for the post. The party would rather have a senior BJP face from the south for the post instead of a newcomer from the Congress,” the leader said.

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