S. Dorairaj

Anti-Rangasamy camp jubilant over appointment of A.V. Subramanian as PCC chief

CET abolition, quota, milk price hike issues to be taken up

“Lack of floor coordination among allies may trouble government”

PUDUCHERRY: There has never been dearth of political dramas in Puducherry, particularly days ahead of Assembly sessions.

However, considering the political developments which have unfolded in quick succession, the forthcoming budget session to commence with the address of the Lieutenant Governor on Tuesday is going to be extraordinary and eventful, political observers say.Hardly two weeks before the commencement of the session, then Lt. Governor Mukut Mithi was replaced by Lt. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Bhopinder Singh, who would hold additional charge in Puducherry.

Another important development is the cases registered by police against Health Minister E. Valsaraj and Education Minister M.O.H.F. Shahjahan as per court direction. This has intensified the infighting in the Cabinet.

Not only all the five Ministers have arrayed themselves against Chief Minister N. Rangasamy but also declared that their “unity cannot be shaken by foisting any number of cases against them.”

Three Ministers - Mr. Shahjahan, Welfare Minister M. Kandasamy and Agriculture Minister V. Vaithilingam - have described the police action as “politically motivated” and the Chief Minister, holding Home portfolio, should take responsibility for that. The anti-Rangasamy camp is jubilant over the appointment of a close confidant of Mr. Narayanasamy and former Assembly Speaker A.V. Subramanian as Pradesh Congress Committee chief, replacing party veteran P. Shanmugam on Sunday. “It is really a setback to Mr. Rangasamy,” sources close to the Chief Minister said.

Minister for Tourism Malladi Krishna Rao has also raised the banner of revolt against the Chief Minister by offering to surrender two of his portfolios - Local Administration and Rural Development - on the ground that adequate funds have not been earmarked. Mr. Kandasamy has already threatened to complain to the Congress high command if the funds are not allotted sufficiently for the special component plan.

Mr. Rangasamy’s detractors charge him with being “ostrich-like” about the criticism against him. But sources close to the Chief Minister say that he has other priorities such as preparing the budget for the first time after the Union Territory having started its own public account in December last. He has to redefine his strategy to tackle the challenges thrown by the Opposition, they point out.

Just as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has demanded the dismissal of the government and the Puducherry Munnetra Congress has taken up cudgels against the government by organising protest rallies, alliance partners of the ruling party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Communist Party of India, have expressed dismay over the infighting in the Cabinet, calling for intervention by the Congress high command to save the situation.

The Pattali Makkal Katchi, another ally, has spoken its mind by presenting a “shadow budget.” Parties in the Opposition and alliance partners have already decided to take on the government during the debate on various issues such as abolition of entrance test for admission to technical courses, internal reservation for minorities, milk price hike and various demands of the government employees, teachers, farmers and fishermen.

“In the absence of floor coordination among the alliance partners and cohesive functioning of the Ministers, the government may find it difficult to steer clear of pot-shots from the Opposition and the alliance partners,” a Congress veteran opined.