Uncertainty in cabinet expansion in Puducherry continues even after BJP has submitted its list of two names for ministers in the NDA government led by AINRC chief, N. Rangasamy.
While the earlier impasse was due to the BJP demanding a deputy chief minister’s post and three ministerial berths, it has now settled for 2 ministers and Speaker’s post. The AINRC will have three ministers other than the chief minister and the deputy Speaker’s post.
After heated debates and arguments, the BJP has finalized the names of J. Sarvana Sai Kumar and A. Namassivayam as its nominees, thus leading to major unrest from the camp of John Kumar whose supporters had laid siege to the BJP office in Puducherry a few days ago. Kumar is in Delhi along with his son and MLA, Richard Johnkumar negotiating with the central leadership for a ministerial berth. It is, however, settled that the party would provide ministerial berths in rotation to MLAs, and seems to have pacified John Kumar, sources said.
After the election results on May 2, the AINRC got 10 MLAs while BJP could win 6 seats and Rangasamy was of the opinion that the BJP would get proportional representation in the cabinet. The cabinet impasse continued even 44 days after N. Rangasami was sworn in as chief minister on May 7.
In between, Rangasami was admitted to a Chennai hospital following Covid and BJP nominated three persons as legislators to the Puducherry assembly and also garnered support from three of the six independents, thus taking the tally of the saffron party to 12.
Rangasamy, it was learned did not attend to calls from the BJP leaders including its national leader in charge of Puducherry, Rajeev Chandrashekhar. The chief minister excused himself from the calls of BJP leaders citing that he was hospitalized and was not in a position to speak but sources told IANS that it was his protest against the BJP unilaterally nominating three leaders as MLAs without consulting him. However, after the union home minister, Amit Shah reached out, Rangasamy agreed to meet Rajeev Chandrashekhar and the names of the two BJP leaders were finalized for cabinet berths.
After BJP finalised names for cabinet berths, Rangasamy faced challenge from within his own party from senior leaders, K. Lakshminarayanan, C. Jayakumar, P. Rajavelu and also Karaikal representatives, PTM Thirumurugan and Chandrapriyanka. The AINRC has three ministerial berths and one deputy speaker post to satisfy the aspirants and Rangasamy is mulling the idea of giving representation to Karaikal as well as a Scheduled Caste representation. It is learned that the chief minister will finalise his list of candidates soon and submit it to Lt Governor of Puducherry, Tamilasai Soundararajan by this weekend, after he decides on three ministerial aspirants as well as the deputy speaker post.
BJP leader Embalam R. Selvam has already become the Speaker of the Puducherry house and party leaders opined that the impasse would end soon, probably by this weekend and the government will start functioning smoothly.