Puducherry: Ministers of the Puducherry Cabinet will be sworn-in Sunday with two BJP ministers and three All India NR Congress (AINRC) Ministers joining 51 days after Chief Minister N. Rangasamy assumed office May 7.
The BJP contested 10 seats in the Assembly election. It won six seats, marking a historic victory fas it was the first time the saffron party was opening its account in the Union Territory. The BJP is sharing power as a junior partner in the AINRC-led government.
After the swearing-in of Rangasamy as Chief Minister, he contracted Covid-19 and was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai. While the Chief Minister was in hospital, the BJP nominated three of its leaders as legislators thus taking the party tally in the 33-member house to nine.
In the 2021 polls, a record six independents won, and of this, three MLAs extended their support to the BJP. This led to several theories that BJP was trying to enter into a bargaining game with AINRC for getting more ministerial berths and if possible, garner the upper hand in the Cabinet.
Rangasamy who was convalescing in the Chennai hospital maintained a studied silence and stopped conversing with the BJP leadership of Puducherry and even the party in charge of the Union Territory, Rajeev Chandrashekha. The BJP central leadership had to do a lot of persuasion with Rangasamy to open the communication line with the BJP state leadership as well as with Chandrashekhar.
The Chief Minister reluctantly agreed and this broke the ice between the state BJP and Rangasamy. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Water Resources minister and senior DMK leader S. Duraimurugan openly said that the BJP was trying to upset the apple cart and trying to capture power through the backdoor.
Jeevananadan, political observer and Director of Mahe Development Forum, a development initiative based out of Mahe, a province of Puducherry, said: “The track record of the BJP across the country is similar to what we are witnessing in Puducherry. A party that is a non-entity here fished in troubled waters and got some senior leaders of the Congress party like A. Namasivayam and John Kumar to name two. Likewise, several senior local leaders jumped fence and joined the BJP.
“Piggybacking on the popularity of these leaders and with the political alliance of a highly popular leader like Rangasamy, BJP could win six seats and they improved the tally to nine by nominating three of their state leaders. Again they garnered the support of three independent MLAs and naturally, this will upset an incumbent Chief Minister as his junior partner has more strength than his party on the floor of the house and BJP exactly wanted this.”
“However BJP is still a non-entity in this part of the country and they are trying to enter through backdoor which is not good for a healthy democracy. Rangasamy will have to guard his turf properly or else BJP will work to get a majority on its terms and conditions and try and get the post of Chief Minister through the backdoor.”
With the Rangasamy Cabinet going for an expansion on Sunday, the million-dollar question in political and social circles is whether the BJP will upset the combination and try and gain the upper hand or whether it will be satisfied as the junior partner.
The political line adopted by the BJP across the country is a clear indicator that the saffron party is not averse to experimentation and that it could try something up its sleeve to get the Chief Minister’s post.