Seventy-one year old AINRC (All India NR Congress) founder N Rangasamy was sworn in as Chief Minister of Puducherry on May 7 for a record fourth time. However, this will be the first time that he will be heading a coalition cabinet, with alliance party BJP slated to be inducted into the ministry. Rangasamy alone was sworn in on May 7 as the other Ministers belonging to the AINRC and BJP would be inducted in the next few days, a party source told PTI.
Known to be a soft-spoken and accessible leader, Rangasamy is famous for driving around in a two- wheeler across the streets of Puducherry, even as a CM. A former Congress veteran, he floated his All India NR Congress in 2011 after being replaced as CM, following complaints from V Narayanasamy, then Congress Lok Sabha MP representing the UT.
Rangasamy started off his electoral politics on an unsuccessful note by losing his first Assembly poll from Thattanchavady in 1990 when he was defeated by his political arch rival V Pethaperumal of the Janata Dal. However, he was elected from the same segment the next year and was rewarded with the Agriculture portfolio in the cabinet. Again in 1996, he won on a Congress ticket.
In 2001, when the Congress won again, he took over the reins of the UT and continued to helm Puducherry after leading the party to a successive win five years later as well. However, things took a different turn with Narayanasamy intensifying his criticism of Rangasamy on several counts and the AICC replaced him as CM with V Vaithilingam in August 2008. In 2011, Rangasamy floated his All India NR Congress, which joined hands with the J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK and won the polls at that time.
The AINRC came out successful with 15 members and had the support of one independent which together gave Rangasamy the minimum strength of 16 on its side and he formed the government under his stewardship. He ditched the AIADMK at the time of forming the government in 2011, prompting strong criticism by the late Jayalalithaa who described him as a 'traitor' later. The AINRC contested the 2016 polls on its own but failed to ensure a clinching performance, with the Congress- DMK combine with 17 members forming the government.
Rangasamy became opposition leader in 2016. He kept a low profile for some time before the Congress government, led by Narayanasamy, fell in February 2021 after it was reduced to a minority in the wake of a spate of resignations by his party MLAs.
Rangasamy is a graduate in commerce and also in legal studies. He did not practise law as he swung into active politics. Thattanchavady has been his pocket borough all along and did not disappoint him during the April 6 polls as well. Though he sought election simultaneously from Yanam, an enclave of the union territory in Andhra Pradesh, he was defeated by an Independent candidate there.