The Puducherry Assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution asking the Centre to repeal the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act after the opposition All India NR Congress legislators boycotted and two nominated BJP members walked out along with the lone AIADMK man.
Piloting the resolution, Congress Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy rejected the contention of Lt Governor Kiren Bedi that the Assembly cannot pass a resolution against a law passed by Parliament. He said the “Lt Governor cannot interfere with the sovereign powers of the Territorial Assembly”.
Narayanaswamy, who is heading a Congress-DMK coalition ministry which has a strength of 15 in the 30-member Assembly and is supported by two Independents, announced a few days ago that such a resolution would be adopted in the House.
Immediately after he made the announcement, Bedi came out with her opposition and NR legislators also petitioned not to allow a debate.
However, Speaker V P Sivakolundhu, allowed the resolution. It was adopted without a debate in a House devoid of opposition.
The lone AIADMK legislator K Anbalagan joined the walkout as the parent party in Tamil Nadu is yet to take a stand on the issue. Tongue in cheek, he said he walked out in protest against failure of the Government to hold local body elections and implement the 20 kg free rice scheme which he knew was being stonewalled by Bedi.
Unlike Kerala, where the LDF and the UDF joined hands to pass the resolution, Narayanaswamy Government adopted it in the face of opposition.
With this, Puducherry has joined the ranks of dissenting States of Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu M K Stalin requested that Tamil Nadu Assembly also adopt a similar resolution. But his demand was kept pending by Speaker P Dhanapal during the brief first session of the year last month.
Two days ago, he sent another letter to the Speaker’s office through DMK legislators, reiterating that the issue be debated when the House meets on Feb 14 for budget. It is unlikely to happen.
The AIADMK has a clear majority and it can easily defeat any such resolution. But once it is allowed to be taken up for debate, the AIADMK has to take a stand.
If it opposes the resolution, it will lose whatever little support it has among Muslims. If it supports, it will fall foul of the Modi Government.
The best course is to stall the issue by asking the Speaker to put it in cold storage.