The ruling Congress is set to face a crucial floor test to prove its majority in the Assembly on Monday.
The Assembly Secretariat, as per the directions of Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, has issued a communication to reconvene the house.
“The fourth session of the 14th Puducherry Legislative Assembly will reassemble for a special session at 10 a.m. on Monday,” R. Mounissamy, Assembly Secretary, said in his communication on Saturday.
The resignations of two Ministers, two legislators and the disqualification of another MLA has brought down the strength of the Congress-DMK combine to 14, including the Speaker. The numbers are on a par with Opposition parties as of now.
According to a political source, the Assembly Secretariat in a communication to the legislators on Monday’s session had put the ruling combine’s strength as 13 as the Speaker can cast his vote only in the case of a tie.
The numbers are against the government, a ruling party member said but admitted that they are also in touch with certain disgruntled AINRC legislators who fear losing their sitting seat to the BJP due to the hard bargain the saffron party was driving in the AINRC-AIADMK-BJP alliance.
The party also heaved a sigh of relief with the participation of DMK legislators and leaders at a meeting of the Secular Democratic Progressive Alliance held on Friday night. The DMK had been maintaining its distance with the Congress over the last few months.
“We still have our differences with the Congress. We have already apprised party president M.K. Stalin of our desire to play a larger role in the alliance as the DMK has run governments in Puducherry before. But those issues will not crop up during the floor test as we do not want the BJP to get any upper hand in the Union Territory. We will extend full support to the government during the floor test,” a DMK leader told The Hindu.
Some leaders in the Congress were of the opinion that the party should face the floor test with the numbers. “We don’t need to do any political manoeuvring to save the government. If the government falls, we can expose the designs of the BJP in destabilising a government even just days before the announcement of elections,” a Congress leader said.
Those who are in favour of saving the government were of the opinion that failing the floor test will lead to President’s rule in the Union Territory. “There are disadvantages in facing the elections under the President’s rule. The survival in the floor test means we will be facing the elections under a caretaker government. We will work out a clear strategy at Sunday’s meeting of legislators,” he said.
The Opposition camp was confident of the fall of the government as they feel more legislators are set to desert the Congress. Nominated legislator and president of BJP V. Saminathan said at least three sitting Congress MLA are in touch with his party.