Puducherry: The April 13 Assembly polls in
the Union Territory of Puducherry promise to be a face-off
between two fronts -- the ruling Congress-DMK combine and the
opposition AINRC-AIADMK alliance.
While the Congress-DMK alliance is seeking to
establish its successive government in the Union Territory,
the opposition front is determined to get the present
government removed from power and bring in its rule with All
India N R Congress (AINRC) founder N Rangasamy as chief
Following the pre-poll alliance talks with AIADMK,
AINRC has been earmarked 17 seats, while AIADMK will contest
10. CPI, CPI(M) and DMDK have each been allotted the remaining
Congress is contesting from 17 seats while DMK has
been allotted 10. PMK has been earmarked two seats and VCK
Rangasamy was ousted as chief minister in August 2008
with his own ministerial colleagues revolting against him. He
first became chief minister in 2001 and after a five-year term
wore the mantle of chief ministership in 2006.
The Rangasamy-led party locks horns with Congress in
11 segments and with DMK in four seats.
AIADMK is pitted against DMK in five seats and will
face Congress in four constituencies.
CPI challenges Congress nominee and present Chief
Minister V Vaithilingam in Kamaraj Nagar, an urban segment.
DMDK will face DMK in one segment in Karaikal while
Home and Health Minister E Valsaraj (Congress) will contest in
Mahe against a CPI(M) candidate.
BJP and a few other parties, including BSP, are going
it alone in the polls.
AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa had during her
poll campaign projected Rangasamy as chief ministerial
candidate and sought support to jettison the "corrupt Congress
and DMK from continuing in power".
Rangasamy is seeking election from two segments --
Indira Nagar and Kadirkamam -- carved out of Thatanchavady,
his pocket borough in all the polls he had contested
successively since 1991. This is the first time a contestant
will seek election from two seats in Puducherry.
Three of the six ministers and Speaker R Radhakrishnan
are facing challenge from AINRC nominees in their
constituencies. Revenue Minister Malladi Krishna Rao is
contesting against an AIADMK nominee in Yanam, an enclave of
the Union Territory in Andhra Pradesh.
The total voter strength in Puducherry has shot up to
8,10,635 after updating of the voters list.
Women voters, with a strength of 4,19,890, outnumber
men whose strength is 3,90,740. In addition there are five
voters coming under `others` category.
In Puducherry alone, which has 23 of the total 30
seats in the Union Territory, there are 6,18,375 voters.
Karaikal region with five constituencies, has a total
voters strength of 1,32,840. Mahe and Yanam regions, which
have one segment each, have 28,484 and 30,936 voters