Key Puducherry Constituencies to Look Out for This Election
Puducherry saw the fall of the elected government headed by Congress’ V Narayanasamy in February 2021.
Puducherry, which is now under President’s rule, is going to polls in a single-phase to elect members for the 30-seat Assembly.
The main parties in the fray include the N Rangasamy’s All India NR Congress (AINRC) that is seeking votes from 16 seats. The party is in an alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is contesting in nine seats and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) which is contesting in four seats.
On the other hand, the Congress is contesting in 14 seats and supporting an independent in Yanam. Its ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is contesting in 13 seats.
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) too has filed nominations for a few seats in Puducherry. Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) withdrew its candidates and announced its support to the AINRC here.
The Fall of Congress-Led Government
The Union Territory saw the fall of the elected government headed by Congress’ V Narayanasamy in February 2021.
The Congress in Puducherry had been hit by a spate of resignations in January, when four-time Congress MLA Lakshminarayanan, DMK MLA K Venkatesan, former ministers A Namassivayam and Malladi Krishna Rao quit.
V Narayanasamy-led government was reduced to 12 MLAs while the Opposition’s strength stood at 14 in the 33-member House. Though the Opposition had a majority, they chose to not stake claim to the government and decided to face the elections.
In February, Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry was removed and additional charge of the territory was given to Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan.
Incidentally, Narayanasamy will not be contesting this election on Congress ticket.
Here are the key constituencies and leaders to look out for in Puducherry in this Assembly election.
Hyderabad Yanam, an assembly constituency of the Union Territory of Puducherry, geographically located in Andhra Pradesh, has turned out to be an important constituency this election as the AINRC leader N Rangasamy is contesting from here.
With the exit of five-time Congress lawmaker and former health minister Malladi Krishna Rao from the party, the Congress, that has been dominating the French colony for the last three decades, has lost its stronghold.
Rao is taking a break from politics and is not contesting the elections from Yanam but had declared his support to former Chief Minister N Rangasamy, who is also seeking election from Thattanchavady in Puducherry.
More than a third of the total number of voters in Yanam, hail from Agnikula Kshatriya (fishermen) community. Since Malladi Krishna Rao belonged to this community, he had the popular support. Analysts, now believe votes are expected to go in Rangasamy’s favour.
However, Rangasamy is expected to face a tough challenge from 35-year-old Gollapalli Ashok, who represents Kapu community, which is the second largest caste group in Yanam. He quit the BJP when he was denied a party ticket and is now contesting as an independent candidate with the Congress’ support.
The lack of industries in the area, rising unemployment rates of the youth and erratic power supply are concerning issues in the constituency.
The AIADMK leader A Anbalagan is contesting from Uppalam. He is the sitting MLA and has been holding the Uppalam constituency since 2001. He is facing the challenge from DMK’s Annibal Kennedy, a former legislator.
Erratic water and power supply and inadequate hospital services are key concerns here.
Former PWD minister A Namassivayam, who left the Congress, is contesting as the BJP’s candidate from Mannadipet constituency. He has shifted his residence to Thirukkanur in the constituency.
He contested from Villianur on a Congress ticket and won in the 2011 and 2016 elections. This time he has moved to Mannadipet, that has a large chunk of Vanniyar voters. He belongs to this caste group.
In the 2011 and 2016 elections, the Mannadipet seat was won by TPR Selvame of the AINRC.
A Krishnan alias AK Kumar is the DMK candidate. Key issues in the constituency include crime due to alcohol addiction and road connectivity to Puducherry.
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