Senior Congress leader V Vaithilingam will be the new chief minister of Puducherry replacing incumbent N Rangasamy who resigned on Thursday in the wake of a rebellion against him by his cabinet colleagues.
The Congress Legislature Party, which met hours after Rangasamy resigned from the top post, elected Vaithilingam, a former chief minister, as the new leader, paving the way for him to succeed.
After the meeting, Vaithilingam along with All India Congress Committee observer K B Krishnamoorthy, who supervised the Congress Legislature Party meet, and Pattali Makal Katchi member of Parliament Prof Ramadoss drove to Raj Nivas and handed over a letter to Lt Governor Govind Singh Gurjar informing him about the election of the CLP leader.
"We requested the Lt Governor to invite Vaithilingam to form the next government in the union territory," Krishnamoorthy told reporters. Earlier in the day, Rangasamy tendered his resignation to the Lt Governor, who asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
Krishnamoorthy said letters of "unconditional" support from allies--DMK and PMK--and three Independents were also handed over to the Lt Governor.
Asked if CPI was supporting the new Government, he said "that question does not arise."
On whether the swearing-in ceremony would take place on September one, he said "hopefully so" and added that the size of the ministry would be six as per the constitutional provisions, he said.
Vaithilingam said it was a mandate from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for him to discharge his duty as chief minister.
All welfare measures evolved by the previous administration will be continued, he said.
Earlier as the CLP meeting was in progress, Rangasamy drove down from the Raj Nivas to the party office (after submitting his resignation to Gurjar) and spent some time in formal discussions with Krishnamoorthy.
Speaking to reporters, Rangasamy said he was thankful to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and leaders of alliance parties - Communist Party of India, Dravida Munnetra Kazhgham and PMK - for their sustained support to enable him evolve various development schemes.
Rangasamy appealed to the people to maintain calm and assured that he would continue to strive hard for the development of the Congress in Puducherry.
All the five ministers in Rangasamy government boycotted cabinet meetings on August two and six accusing him of failing to fulfill promises made to people during the 2006 Assembly polls.
The Congress emerged as the single largest party in the 2006 assembly polls bagging 10 of the 30 seats in the Union territory and formed the government with the support of DMK, CPI, PMK and some independent candidates.