On the Cusp of History

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The AIADMK-BJP alliance is heading for a win in Puducherry. This is mainly due to infrastructure projects undertaken by the Narendra Modi Government. The party is promising a double engine growth once the alliance forms the government. There is an also grave corruption charge against the Congress

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Puducherry BJP candidates at party office
In neighbouring Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry, for the AINRC-BJP-AIADMK-led alliance in taking over the mantle from the Congress-DMK combine. Puducherry goes to polls on April 6.
Of the 30 Assembly seats, five are reserved for Schedule Caste candidates. As many as 10,02,589 electors will choose candidates for the 15 Legislative Assembly of Puducherry. The Congress, BJP and AINRC are yet to release their poll manifestos. The All India N R Congress (AINRC) led former CM N Rangaswamy is leading the NDA alliance in the UT by fielding 16 candidates. BJP and AIADMK are contesting 9 and 5 seats respectively. BJP tried to lead the alliance with more seats but the AINRC refused to accept it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited the UT recently, inaugurated a slew of developmental projects. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP national president JP Nadda also visited Puducherry.
Development in Right Earnestness
Brimming with optimism in his recent public meeting, Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda said he was confident that Lotus will bloom in the UT after the elections. “BJP will form the next government. Puducherry would witness double engine growth if NDA is voted to power,” he added.
Noting that the Union Government had carried out development in Puducherry, Shri Naddaji said the Modi government had sanctioned Rs.20,000 crore worth road projects in the UT. This was part of the overall infrastructure development in the country. He also listed out various projects for construction of flyovers linking different segments in Puducherry involving an outlay of around Rs.232 crore. He said the growth will be like speed of a bullet. “During the UPA regime things moved on a snail’s pace bothat Centre as well as Puducherry”.
Former CM in the Dock
In an important development, former Chief Minister Narayanaswamy will not contest the 2021 elections. He was not given seat this time as Rahul Gandhi was unhappy over his performance, particularly his inability to keep the flock intact. He was also penalised for incorrectly translating a fisherwoman’s complaint as compliment.
There is also a serious charge against Narayanaswamy. He told media that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had levelled baseless accusations that he had given “cut money” to the Sonia Gandhi family from the Rs. 15,000 crore Central funds allocated for Puducherry while addressing a meeting last month. “I am ready to face any probe into this” he said. In another meeting he said the AINRC, BJP and AIADMK have joined hands together with the sole aim of destabilising Puducherry.
Rubbishing his argument, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and poll in-charge Arjun Ram Meghwal said: “Whatever Amit Shah said was true on former CM Narayanaswamy. The Centre gave Rs.15,000 crore to the UT but the Congress government could not deliver. It managed funds very badly.” He further added: “We are committed to promote all Indian languages, including Tamil. I am confidant BJP will win all the nine seats and enter the Assembly. NDA will form the next government in Puducherry.”
In the 30-members Puducherry legislature, Congress had won 15 seats, All India NR Congress had eight seats, AIADMK won four seats and DMK walked away with two MLAs. Following the hung verdict, Congress (15 MLAs) formed government with DMK (3) and a lone Independent MLA. However, the Congress-led government in Puducherry fell before completing its five-year term under Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy. He had resigned on February 22 ahead of a floor test in the 33-member house (including three nominated BJP MLAs) following the resignations of five Congress and one DMK MLAs. Though Narayanaswamy blamed the BJP for toppling his government in the UT, the fact is that his party MLAs and lone DMK deserted him due to multiple reasons.
In an important development, former Chief Minister Narayanaswamy will not contest the 2021 elections. He was not given seat this time as Rahul Gandhi was unhappy over his performance, particularly his inability to keep the flock intact. He was also penalised for incorrectly translating a fisherwoman’s complaint as compliment. There is also a serious charge against Narayanaswamy 
A Namassivayam, the second- in-command, who was projected as the CM candidate in 2016 elections, first started the ball moving by quitting the party and membership from legislature. His trusted lieutenant and minister E Theepaindan followed suit. Another Congress MLA N Dhanavelu was disqualified in July for indulging in anti -party activities. A John Kumar’s resignation came a day after health minister Malladi Krishna Rao put in his papers. With him four Congress MLAs quit the party.
Interestingly, former Deputy Chairman in the Puducherry Municipality John Kumar’s resignation came a day after Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the UT as part of poll preparation. Barring Malladi Krishna Rao, others are in now BJP party. Assembly speaker P Sivakolundhu, a Congress MLA, also resigned from the Speaker’s post citing health reasons. His brother VP Ramalingam and son Ramesh joined BJP. A John Kumar, his son and former DMK MLA K Venkatesan have also joined BJP and are contesting the April 6, 21 elections.
The Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) led by Congress is contesting 15 seats while the DMK will fight on13 seats. The CPI and the Vidhuthalai Chirthaigal Katchi (VCK) is contesting each one seat. It is a setback forthe Congress, who had contested on 21 seats and won 15 in the 2016 assembly elections. The DMK hadfought on 9 but only won 2 seats.
Department of Election said as many as 324 candidates are left in the fray for the April 6 th Assembly polls in Puducherry. Of the 382 candidates, whose nominations were found to be in order at the end ofscrutiny of nominations on March 20, 58 withdrew their papers on March 23 the last date forwithdrawal. N Rangaswamy is seeking election from two Assembly segments – Thattachavady in Puducherry regime and Yanam an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh. In the SDA alliance, Congress has fielded candidates in 14 seats out of the 15 segments allotted. Pattali Makkal Katchi haswithdrawn its candidates from all the 10 seats it had sought to contest and extended its support to theAINRC headed NDA combine.
Congress is one of the main political parties in Puducherry since its integration in 1962. Edouard Goubertfrom INC was elected as the first CM in 1964. In the last 56 years, there have been 11 Congress CMs. INC had won in 1964,1985, 1991, 2001, 2006 and 2016 Assembly elections. The Puducherry represents one seat in Lok Sabha, which was won by Congress in the last poll. It had won nine out of 14 times in the Lok Sabha elections.
According to Asianet News Network-C fore pre-poll survey, the AINRC, BJP and AIADMK alliance is likelyto sweep the forthcoming Assembly elections with 23-27 seats in the 30 seat assembly. The DMK-Congress front is likely to get more than 3-7 seats. Another pre-poll survey conducted by Times Now-C-Voter Opinion Poll is projecting that AINRC-BJP-AIADMK will win between 19 and 23 seats, while the United Progressive Alliance comprising Congress and DMK is expected to win between 7 and 11 seats. The survey says Rangaswamy is the preferred CM with 49.8 percent votes.