Newly elected Pondy MLAs to be sworn-in on Wednesday

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Puducherry, May 25 (PTI) The swearing-in of newly elected MLAs in this Union Territory will be held on Wednesday but the AINRC-led NDA coalition cabinet is yet to take shape, although its leader N Rangasamy has taken oath as the Chief Minister.

Besides the elected legislators, three nominated BJP MLAs will also take oath on May 26, three weeks after the results of the April 6 polls in the UT were declared.

AINRC MLA K Lakshminarayanan would be sworn-in as pro-tem Speaker tomorrow with Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan administering the oath of office to him.

He would induct the new legislators in the 30-member Assembly and together with the nominated members, the strength of the House is 33.

Elections were held here on April 6 and the counting of votes taken up on May 2. The AINRC-led NDA won the polls.

Soon after he was sworn-in on May 7, Rangasamy, the lone member in the cabinet to take oath so far, tested positive for Covid-19 and underwent treatement at nearby Chennai, before returning here last week.

He will be heading a coalition government that would include the BJP, with the saffron party pitching for three cabinet members including post of deputy chief minister for A Namassivayam, a former Congress leader who switched camps earlier.

The NDA emerged victorious from 16 of the 30 seats, with AINRC coming out trumps in 10 and the rest going to its saffron ally. Another constituent AIADMK drew a blank.

A majority of the six independents are said to be favourably disposed towards Rangasamy.

Opposition DMK and Congress have six and two seats, respectively.

The immediate task before Rangasamy would be the expansion of his ministry.

Usually Puducherry would have a six-member cabinet including the chief minister. The strength could be increased to seven this time, even as AINRC sources pointed out at BJP's preference for three cabinet posts, including the deputy CM itself.

Having witnessed a spike in its daily coronavirus cases earlier before witnessing a dip recently, Puducherry awaits the new government to handle key issues including Covid management, although Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundaarajan is presently addressing related issues, including holding meetings with officials to chalk out programmes to battle the pandemic.

A full-fledged budget is also required to be passed for the fiscal 2021-2022 although an interim allocation has been made through Vote on Account passed in Lok Sabha with Puducherry being under President's rule since February after the fall of the V Narayanasamy-led Congress government then.

The government fell after it failed in the confidence vote in the wake of a spate of resignations. PTI COR SA BN BALA BN BALA

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