Puducherry’s newly-appointed Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Thursday ordered a floor test for the Congress government in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory by 5 pm on February 22, reported ANI.

The development came amid political turmoil in Puducherry which saw the V Narayanasamy-led government being reduced to a minority, following the resignation of four of its MLAs. Congress legislator A John Kumar became the latest one to resign on Tuesday, following Malladi Krishna Rao who quit on Monday. Two others, A Namassivayam and E Theeppainjan, had resigned in January.

Amid the crisis, the Centre had removed Kiran Bedi from the post of the lieutenant governor on Tuesday and gave Soundararajan, who is the governor of Telangana, an additional charge.

Currently, both the ruling coalition of Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Opposition combine of Bharatiya Janata Party and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have 14 MLAs each in the 33-member House. On its own, the Congress had 10 MLAs. It also has the support of one Independent candidate.

Soundararajan’s order came after the Opposition parties, led by Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and All India NR Congress chief N Rangasamy, “reiterated” its stand that the government has to prove its majority on the floor of the House, a release from the Secretariat said, according to PTI.

“They averred that the present government has been reduced to a minority and lost its legitimacy to continue,” the release said, adding Rangasamy, AIADMK Legislature Party Leader A Anbalagan and BJP’ state president V Saminathan, MLA, met her in this connection.

Soundararjan conveyed to Narayanasamy that the Assembly will meet on Monday and with the single agenda of “whether the government of the incumbent chief minister continues to enjoy the confidence of the House”.

“The floor test in pursuance of the above directions shall be concluded by 5 pm on 22.02.2021 and the proceedings shall not be adjourned/delayed or suspended at any cost,” the order said.

Voting will take place by show of hands and the proceedings will be recorded on video. The lieutenant governor’s office added that the proceedings should not be adjourned, delayed or suspended, The Hindu reported.

CM holds meeting

Narayanasamy held a meeting with the MLAs after the floor test was ordered, ANI reported. “No decision has been taken in today’s meet,” the Puducherry chief minister said. “We will hold a meeting again on February 21. We are also consulting with our alliance partner DMK.”

Meanwhile, Puducherry BJP President V Saminathan claimed that the Congress government will collapse on the day of the floor test. “Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has lost the majority and his claim of having the majority is false,” he added, according to ANI.

Assembly elections in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu are due by May.