The V Narayanasamy-led Congress government in Puducherry, thrown into a crisis by a string of resignations just months before the elections, lost its majority in the Assembly on Monday, NDTV reported.

Narayanasamy has submitted his resignation to newly-appointed Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, according to News18. He said that the government elected by the people had been toppled and the Opposition will be taught a lesson in the upcoming elections.

The chief minister moved the motion of confidence minutes after the special Assembly session began. However, he and his MLAs walked out even before the motion was put to vote, The Hindu reported. Then, Speaker VP Sivakolundhu announced that the motion stood defeated.

Later, Narayanasamy alleged procedural lapse in the process, suggesting that the three nominated members had no voting rights, ANI reported.

“One of our members raised the issue that the nominated members have no voting rights...The three nominated members were told to support the Opposition’s stand,” Narayanasamy said. “Since they were made to vote we walked out of House, went to LG and submitted resignation. “Since ruling party was not there, [the] Speaker should have taken the vote of Opposition and declared that confidence motion has been defeated.”

During the debate in the House, the chief minister had claimed he still had the majority, NDTV reported. “We formed the government with the support of DMK [Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam] and independent MLAs,” Narayanasamy was quoted as saying by ANI. “After that, we faced various elections. We have won all the bye-elections. It is clear that people of Puducherry trust us.”

Narayanasamy accused former Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and the Centre of colluding with the Opposition to topple his government. “As our MLAs stayed united we managed to pull off the last 5 years,” he said, according to ANI. The Puducherry chief minister also alleged that Bedi did not allow him to do his work, News18 reported.

Narayanasamy spoke about his government’s welfare measures for the farmers. “We had waived cooperative farm loans when we formed the government,” he told the Assembly, according to Hindustan Times. “For small farmers PM Modi [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] is giving [Rs] 6,000. We are giving [Rs] 37,500.”

Narayanasamy said the MLAs who quit over the last few days will not be able to face the people and will be seen as opportunists, ANI reported. “MLAs should stay loyal to the party,” he said.

The Congress government in Puducherry was reduced to a minority, following the resignation of four of its MLAs. Congress legislator A John Kumar resigned last Tuesday, following Malladi Krishna Rao who quit on Monday. Two others, A Namassivayam and E Theeppainjan, had resigned in January.

A day before the government’s test of strength, two more MLAs – one from the Congress and the other from the DMK – tendered their resignations. K Lakshminarayanan, the Congress MLA, said he quit because he did not get his due recognition in the party. The MLA said he had been approached by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the regional NR Congress. He added that he will make his next move after consulting his supporters.

After all these resignations, the number of MLAs supporting the Puducherry government in the Assembly had been reduced to 12, including the Speaker. This included MLAs from the DMK and an independent candidate. The Opposition, on the other hand, had 14 MLAs. The effective strength of the House came down from 33 to 26. The simple majority mark was 14.

Soundararajan had ordered the floor test for the Congress government on Thursday. She was given the additional charge of Puducherry on Tuesday after the Centre removed Kiran Bedi from the lieutenant governor’s position.

Political reactions

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot termed the political development in Puducherry as “most unfortunate” and a case of BJP “ destabilising Congress governments to grab power through unethical means”. He cited similar happenings in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

On the other hand, BJP’s Information Technology cell head Amit Malviya mocked Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, suggesting that the party lost power due to his “midas touch”.

“It’s just a matter of time before Rahul Gandhi achieves, which no other Gandhi has...,” he said, in another tweet, pointing out that the Congress had governments in only three states.