Puducherry polls: Most parties yet to firm up strategy

With hardly two months left for the assembly polls, political parties in the Union Territory of Puducherry are yet to firm up their electoral strategy and decide on whether to go it alone or form alliances.

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 19, 2016, 12:59 PM IST

Puducherry: With hardly two months left for the assembly polls, political parties in the Union Territory of Puducherry are yet to firm up their electoral strategy and decide on whether to go it alone or form alliances.

The ruling N Rangasamy-led AINRC is keeping everyone guessing on whether it would continue its alliance with AIADMK for the May 16 assembly polls.

AINRC and AIADMK had fought the 2011 Assembly polls together. While AINRC annexed 15 out of 17 seats it contested the AIADMK was victorious in five out of 10 it contested.

But at the time of forming the government in May 2011, AINRC founder Rangasamy ditched the AIADMK and formed the ministry with the support of the lone Independent member V M C Sivakumar from outside establishing a strength of 16 in the 30-member Assembly.

For the 2014 Lok Sabha polls for the lone seat here, AINRC formed an alliance with BJP and AINRC nominee R.Radhakrishnan wrested the seat from Congress defeating V Narayanasamy.

AINRC revived its alliance with the AIADMK when the Rajya Sabha polls took place last year and N.Gokulakrishnan, a close confidant of the Chief Minister, was elected unopposed to the Upper House.

Asked about the alliance issue,AINRC Secretary V Bhalan said, "We will have to wait and see."

Barring the Puducherry-based AINRC, other parties like DMK and AIADMK have their headquarters and top leaders in neighbouring Tamil Nadu or in New Delhi where the question of tie-ups and electoral strategies would be decided.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister V Narayanasamy claimed the electorate in Puducherry was "displeased" with the working of the AINRC government and cited issues like unemployment and law and order which was "in the doldrums."

"Traders are virtually left in the lurch, industrialists have found no favourable environment and developmental projects were not initiated all these five years," he said.

"Neither did Rangasamy approach the Centre for relief nor did the NDA government at the Centre respond to any of the requirements of Puducherry," he claimed adding that the demand for statehood was also hanging in the balance.

On the other hand, AINRC sources said the party is banking on various welfare measures the Chief Minister had implemented during the last five years and would highlight this while campaigning.

Seeking to make a mark in the political landscape is

the People's Welfare Front, comprising MDMK, the left parties and VCK.

Ahead of the announcement of the poll schedule,the Front has announced its common minimum programme.

PWF convener and CPI Puducherry State committee secretary R Viswanathan said the front was in the process of deciding seat sharing among its constituents.

"Very soon we will come out with our decision," he said.

Congress suffered a jolt when its senior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha member P.Kannan quit the Congress and joined the AIADMK on February 14.He was later appointed as AIADMK election committee secretary in Puducherry.

Some former legislators including Dr M A S Subramanian (from BJP), K Natarajan (from AINRC) and some functionaries of the Puducherry Traders Federation also joined the AIADMK in February.

P.Angalan, an AINRC MLA, quit the party secretary post recently although he retained the Assembly membership.

AINRC secretary Bhalan said some functionaries of the party quitting their party posts would have little or no impact on the party.

Asked if the Congress-DMK alliance finalised in Tamil Nadu would hold good in Puducherry, Narayanasamy said "this would normally happen," adding, matters like sharing of seats would be decided by the party high command.