Ex-minister Namassivayam gets rousing reception on return to Puducherry after joining BJP

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Puducherry, Jan 29 (PTI) A rousing reception was accorded to former Puducherry minister A Namassivayam on his return from Delhi, where he joined the BJP days after quitting the ruling Congress, by the party workers and functionaries.

A large number of BJP workers who gathered at Kanagachettykulam, a border village on the East Coast Road, raised slogans in praise of Namassivayam and several offered him garlands and bouquets as he entered the union territory in a convoy.

E.Theepainthan, who also resigned as MLA and from the Congress and embraced the BJP on Thursday, accompanied Namassivayam.

The former minister offered worship at some of the temples enroute and reached the headquarters of the BJP here.

Months ahead of the assembly elections in Puducherry, he had quit as the PWD Minister on January 25 and also resigned as an MLA protesting what he said `siedlining' of senior leaders in the Congress by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy.

Both Namassivayam and Theepainthan joined the BJP in the presence of its national general secretary Arun Singh and later met party president J P Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and a few other leaders.

The BJP has said their induction in the party will give a big boost to its organisation in the poll-bound Puducherry.

Nadda is scheduled to address a workers meeting of BJP besides a public meeting here on January 31.

With the resignation of Namassivayam and Theepainthan, the assembly strength of the ruling Congress, which depends on the outside support of the three-member DMK in the House, has been reduced to 12 (including the Speaker).

Amid demands by opposition AIADMK that the government prove its majority in the assembly, Narayanasamy had on Thursday asserted the Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance was strong despite the exit of Namassivayam and would face the assembly polls, likely in April-May, with people's support.

The line up of the parties would be decided in course of time and normally the political development in Puducherry is linked to the situation prevailing in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The DMK has recently hinted it wants to contest all 30 seats in Puducherry, raising question marks on continuance of the alliance with Congress, though the two parties have said their ties will continue in Tamil Nadu. PTI CORR VS VS