It`s Congress vs ex-Congress leaders in Puducherry
For the voters in the Union territory of Puducherry, the choice in the upcoming Assembly Elections will be between incumbent Congress Chief Minister V Vaithilingam and former Congress chief minister N Rangasamy.
Puducherry: For the voters in the Union territory of Puducherry, the choice in the upcoming Assembly Elections will be between incumbent Congress Chief Minister V Vaithilingam and former Congress chief minister N Rangasamy, who now heads the All India NR Congress (AINRC). Around 810,500 voters in 30 constituencies will make the final choice on Wednesday.
Although there are 187 candidates and several parties in the fray, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the contest is mainly between the Congress-led front comprising of the DMK, PMK and VCK and the AINRC-led front, including the AIADMK, DMDK, the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).
The ruling Congress is eyeing a hat-trick of victories by coming to power for the third straight time.
Taking cue from their allies, who have lavishly offered freebies to the voters in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, both the Congress the AINRC have been wooing their voters in Puducherry with attractive offers.
The Congress has promised free mobile phones to families below the poverty line (BPL) and a refrigerator or water purifier to all ration card holding families.
The ruling front is seeking voters` support for the continuation of developmental works while the AINRC has promised a corruption-free government if the bloc led by wins the contest.
Not to be outdone, the AINRC has offered washing machines, free higher education for all, noon meal scheme with eggs on all days in schools, and a government job for one person in the family based on qualification.
Political observers point out the AINRC`s lack of cadre strength at the grass root level could be a major negative factor for the front.
However, Rangasamy supporters are upbeat and claim that his simple lifestyle and personal popularity would ensure the party`s victory.
The AINRC is contesting 17 seats, sharing the balance with alliance partners - AIADMK (10) and one each to the DMDK, the CPM and the CPI.
Rangasamy is contesting in two seats.
The Congress is also contesting 17 seats and has given 10 seats to the DMK, two to PMK and one to VCK.
As many as 10 companies of Central paramilitary forces will be deployed for security during the polls, according to officials.
The Congress party`s national leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee, Gulam Nabi Azad as well as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi have campaigned in support of the ruling front.
AIADMK general secretary and former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa campaigned in support of the AINRC-led alliance.