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Puducherry elections | Presence of rebels, fate of minority votes a concern for NDA

The National Democratic Alliance, though buoyant on capturing “anti-incumbency’’ votes against the previous Congress-DMK government, is equally concerned about the presence of rebels from its key constituent – the All India N. R Congress and fate of minority votes.

The electoral entry of three AINRC members in Orleanpet, Muthialpet, Thirunallar and presence of AINRC chief N. Rangasamy’s two supporters at Thirubuvanai and Kalapet constituencies are giving anxious moments to two of NDA’s constituents All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Bharatiya Janata Party.

While AINRC’s former legislator G. Nehru is contesting from Orleanpet constituency as an Independent candidate where alliance party, AIADMK, has fielded former legislator Om Sakthi Segar. In Muthialpet AINRC’s J. Prakash Kumar is contesting as an Independent where AIADMK’s sitting legislator Vayyapuri Manikantan was in fray.

Similarly, former Minister in the previous cabinet of Mr. Rangasamy, P.R. Siva was in fray from Thirunallar as Independent where BJP had fielded S. Rajasekaran.

In Thirubuvanai, AINRC has fielded B. Kobiga where former legislator and Mr Rangasamy’s supporter was an Independent nominee.

In Kalapet, Rangasamy’s supporter A Senthil is contesting as Independent against BJP nominee and former Minister in AINRC government P. M L Kalyanasundaram.

Though not active members of AINRC, the presence of Mr Rangasamy’s supporters as Independents at Thirubuvanai and Kalapat Assembly segments are also concerns that could not be brushed away by the NDA which aimed to install its government after the April 6 polls.

“Our general secretary has already warned party workers of associating with three of our rebel candidates. If they continued to use party flags or the name of our leader, legal action will be initiated against them. As far as the other two members are concerned, they are not members of AINRC. Lot of people associate with Mr Rangasamy. They could be supporters,” said a member of the principal Opposition party.

For the AIADMK, it was not just the presence of AINRC rebels that matter alone for the polls. The party was concerned about which way the large chunk of minorities in Muthialpet, Uppalam, Orleanpet and Karaikal (South) would vote for the party candidates.

In the sitting seats of Muthialpet, Uppalam and Karaikal (South), there was huge shift in the nature of minority votes during the last Lok Sabha polls in which party had an alliance with BJP. Similarly, the AINRC was also concerned about the significant per cent of minority votes in Villianur and Mahe.The minority votes constituted around 12.6% of the total votes and could be a deciding factor in at least eight constituencies considering the thin margin of victory in majority of the Assembly segments in UT.

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