Puducherry polls: AINRCs first list of 21 candidates includes CM Rangasamy

The ruling AINRC on Wednesday announced that it will contest the May 16 Assembly elections in the Union Territory on its own.

Puducherry: The ruling AINRC on Wednesday announced that it will contest the May 16 Assembly elections in the Union Territory on its own and released its first list of 21 candidates, including Chief Minister N Rangasamy.

Releasing the list at a press conference, AINRC founder Rangasamy said he was confident that people would vote again for his party as his government had lived upto their expectations.

"I am absolutely confident that the people would renew their mandate to continue our schemes and welfare measures," he said.

Rangasamy, who led his party to power on its maiden foray in the elections in 2011 after breaking away from Congress, would contest from Indira Nagar constituency which he had vacated after winning from Kadirkamam.

The chief minister had been silent on his party's poll strategy amid speculations that AINRC would revive its alliance with AIADMK forged for the 2011 elections.

However, AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa slammed Rangasamy in her rally here on April 25, accusing him of "serious breach of trust when he buried the ethics of alliance" in 2011, putting at rest speculations about possible revival of the tie-up.

She was referring to AINRC forming the government on its own with the support of an independent MLA and dumping AIADMK.

The polls would witness a multi-cornered contest with the presence of AINRC, Congress-DMK combine, AIADMK and People's Welfare Alliance.

The first list of AINRC nominees includes the names of Theni C Jayakumar and P R N Tirumurugan, who quit the Congress and joined the ruling party earlier in the day, for Villianoor and Karaikal North constituencies, which they represent in the outgoing assembly.

Both Jayakumar and Tirumurugan had been distancing themselves from Congress for the last couple of years and were denied tickets by the party for the coming polls.

Three ministers of Rangasamy's six-member cabinet - P R Siva (Tirunallar), N G Panneerselvam (Oulgaret) and T Thiagarajan (Bahoor), have been renominated in their respective constituencies while Tourism Minister P Rajavelu's name is not in the first list.

Priyanka, daughter of Agriculture Minister M Chandrakasu, will contest from Neduncadu (Reserved) seat in Karaikal as he has opted out citing health grounds.

Other prominent names in the first list are Assembly Speaker V Sabapathy and Deputy Speaker TP R Selvam, who will seek re-election from Ariyankuppan and Mannadipet.

Rangasamy said the candidates for the remaining nine seats would be announced tomorrow. April 29 is the last date for filing nominations.  

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