Puducherry, June 24 (IANS) With Puducherry chief minister N. Rangasamy handing over the list of probable ministers of the NDA to the Lieutenant Governor Tamilsai Soundararajan on Wednesday, the impasse over the cabinet expansion of the union territory has come to an end. However, the chief minister refused to divulge the names of the ministers to the media.
Sources in Puducherry Raj Bhavan told IANS that the swearing-in ceremony is likely to take place between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on June 27.
Even after chief minister N. Rangasamy was sworn in on May 7, the confusion prevailed between the All India NR Congress and the BJP over the sharing of cabinet berths, Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s posts, and also the post of the chief whip.
Relationship between the chief minister and the BJP leadership soured after the saffron party nominated three of its leaders as legislators even as Rangasami was convalescing in a private hospital at Chennai for Covid-19 treatment. There were reports that the BJP was trying to garner the post of chief minister through back-door as three independents among the 6 elected also pledged their support to the BJP. The BJP has six elected legislators, 3 nominated legislators and with the support of three independents, the party could reach a tally of 12 with the AINRC having only 10. The Puducherry chief minister, according to information, did not speak to BJP leaders and it was after a lot of pressure that he spoke to the BJP leader in charge of the UT, Rajeev Chandrashekar, which set the ball rolling.
The BJP had demanded three ministerial berths and deputy chief minister’s post along with the crucial post of the Speaker. However, the party had to contend with two ministerial posts and a Speaker’s post while the chief minister announced that the deputy chief minister post could be created after approval from the union home ministry.
The BJP, it is learnt, has finalized the name of A. Namassivayam, who quit the Congress ahead of the assembly elections and joined the saffron party. The party leadership is likely to induct Sai J. Saravankumar as the other minister resisting stiff objection from A. John Kumar who is camping in New Delhi for a ministerial berth. His supporters had even damaged the BJP flags and had picketed the party office demanding a cabinet berth.
The AINRC is likely to induct K. Lakshminarayanan who had also left the Congress ahead of the assembly elections. The other two names of the AINRC are not clear while the chief minister has told his close confidants that Scheduled Caste representation is likely from the list of AINRC legislators.