Irked by Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangasamy's move to form a government on his own, Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary Jayalalithaa on Thursday alleged that Mr. Rangasamy had betrayed her party, his alliance partner in the just-concluded elections.
She declared that her party would act as “constructive Opposition” in the Puducherry Assembly.
In a statement here, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that Mr. Rangasamy's decision to form the government “independently” showed that he was not steady to his text. Mr. Rangasamy, who had alleged ahead of the elections that the Congress had betrayed him, had done the same now to the AIADMK.
Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled that she had campaigned for Mr. Rangasamy's All India NR Congress, as part of her election tour. Besides, a manifesto was released for Puducherry on behalf of the AIADMK.
“The people voted in favour of the AIADMK-NR Congress alliance reposing faith in the promises of the AIADMK and myself and thus the alliance had a phenomenal victory in the polls.”
As soon as the alliance emerged victorious, “apart from thanking the people of Puducherry, I also congratulated Mr. Rangasamy, who was about to take over as Chief Minister. However, Mr. Rangasamy didn't have the heart to greet me after I was elected the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.”
She lamented that Mr. Rangasamy did not even inform her about forming the government with the help of an Independent MLA, who had fought against an AIADMK candidate, forgetting that it was with the AIADMK's help that he had secured the victory. “This is against dharma and amounts to betrayal of AIADMK.”
She announced that her party would act as a “constructive Opposition” in Puducherry Assembly criticising the ruling party in case of authoritarianism, foibles in governance and its programmes and policies and also when the citizens are deprived of their rights and assets.
Rajesh B. Nair writes from Puducherry:
There was no immediate reaction from the All India NR Congress, led by Mr. Rangasamy, to Ms. Jayalalithaa's statement accusing the Puducherry Chief Minister of betrayal.
While AINRC general secretary V. Bhalan refused to comment, newly elected leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party, A. Anbalagan, said that there was a pre-poll understanding on the inclusion of his party legislators in Mr. Rangasamy's Cabinet.
“We spoke to Mr. Rangasamy immediately after the results, but he went back on the promise.”
AINRC leaders said that the main reason for keeping out the AIADMK could be to accommodate more members from within the AINRC itself in the Cabinet to avoid any disgruntlement.
The fact that Mr. Rangasamy alone took the oath, and could not decide on the names of Ministers, points to the intense bargaining going within the party, a senior leader said.
By not agreeing for a coalition Ministry with the AIADMK, Mr. Rangasamy has also opened a channel for a future political realignment with his parent party, the Congress.
Mr. Rangasamy had avoided any criticism of the Congress high command even while making harsh remarks against local leadership of the party during his marathon speech at the maiden political conference of the AINRC before the announcement of elections. He maintained the line even during the campaign trail.
Adding further credence to the talks of a future realignment was his decision to keep the photograph of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in his chamber along with that of the President and Prime Minister of the country.
A Congress delegation led by Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, V. Narayanasamy, attended the swearing-in ceremony even as the AINRC's alliance partners AIADMK, CPI and CPM stayed away.