Voting for Puducherry’s 30-member Assembly has begun, and polling will go on from 7 am to 7 pm on April 6. In the Union Territory having just over 10 lakh voters, the fight is majorly between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) consisting of Congress (contesting in 14 seats), DMK (13), CPI, VCK (one seat each) and an Independent, and the rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprising All India NR Congress (16 seats), BJP (9) and AIADMK (5).
Puducherry is currently under the President’s rule, since the previous Congress-led government fell after it lost the confidence motion on February 22. The Congress alleged that several of its MLAs had resigned allegedly due to pressure from the BJP and the Union government. Puducherry was the only Congress-led government in south India, which became a minority after five MLAs, including one minister from the DMK, resigned. The Congress had a slender majority in the 30-member Assembly to begin with.
The series of resignations began on January 25, with former Public Works Minister A Namassivayam and E Theeppainthan submitting their resignations. On February 16, two MLAs — Malladi Krishna Rao and John Kumar — resigned from their posts. Johnkumar was considered as a confidante of Narayanasamy.
Former Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy and his MLAs staged a dramatic walk-out before the floor test on February 22. After losing the confidence motion, Narayanaswamy resigned as the Chief Minister. Since then, nobody staked claim to form a government in Puducherry. The term of the Puducherry Assembly was set to expire on June 8, 2021.
The Puducherry Assembly has 33 seats in total, of which five are reserved and three members will be nominated by the Union Government through the Lt Governor. Thirty members of the Assembly will be elected by the voters. Polling in Puducherry will end at 7 pm, and counting of votes will take place on May 2.
(With PTI inputs)