Puducherry Trust vote issue: Cong MLAs' meet inconclusive; CM claims Opp strength is only 11

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(Eds: Updates with fresh inputs) Puducherry, Feb 18 (PTI) Ruling Congress MLAs who met here on Thursday night after Chief Minister V Narayanasamy was directed to prove his majority in the assembly on February 22 did not take any decision on the future course of action and resolved to meet agains a day ahead of the trust vote.

Emerging from the inconclusive meeting held at his residence, Narayanasamy contended that the three nominated MLAs (all BJP) in the union territory assembly do not have rights to vote on a confidence motion and the opposition strength was only 11 and not 14 as maintained by them.

He charged the BJP with intensifying its design to topple the Congress government, which has been hit by resignations of four party MLAs, including two ministers since last month.

The MLAs' meeting was held hours after Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan directed the summoning of the assembly on February 22 for the 'single agenda namely whether the government of the incumbent Chief Minister continues to enjoy the confidence of the House.' In the 33-member assembly with an effective strength of 28, the Congress has ten members, including Speaker, while its alliance partner DMK has three and lone independent from Mahe region also supports it. The opposition parties also have 14 members, including the three nominated.

Narayanasamy toldreporters that the MLAs' meeting did not take any decision. 'The meeting of the Congress MLAs will be held again on November 21,' he added.

He said that as far as he was concerned the nominated MLAs do not have right to vote on a confidence motion and he would consult legalexperts on the issue.

'The strength of the opposition is only 11 and not 14 as claimed by them.... We would consult the legal experts,' the beleaguered chief minister said.

Narayanasamy said he would also consult the legislators of the ally DMK and alsothe lone independent MLA from Mahe.