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Puducherry govt in trouble as ally DMK decides to fight without Congress in Assembly polls

The Congress-DMK alliance ruling over the Union Territory of Puducherry may be headed for collapse with the latter announcing on Monday that it will contest all 30 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections. Senior DMK leader S Jagathrakshagan made the announcement soon after a meeting of DMK functionaries in Puducherry.

After chairing the party meeting, Jagathrakshagan addressed a gathering near Puducherry where he categorically stated that DMK will contest and win all 30 seats in the UT. To the surprise of many, he added: “If we fail (to win polls), I will commit suicide on this stage.”

The emergence of Jagathrakshagan as the centre of power in Puducherry DMK is seen as an assertion of the leader, who also has business interests in the UT. However, there hae also been some minor differences in the Congress-DMK alliance for the past three months.

Suggesting that party may be announcing Jagathrakshagan as the Chief Minister candidate soon, a senior DMK leader in Chennai said Jagathrakshagan has been aggressively pushing for his CM candidature in Puducherry despite the camaraderie between DMK chief M K Stalin and Puducherry’s Congress CM V Narayanasamy.

“Even Narayanasamy hoped he could talk and resolve any problem through Stalin. But Jagathrakshagan was adamant. We have only three seats in Puducherry now. The leadership is told that more than five or six winnable candidates will join DMK from other parties before polls to capture power. We will wait and see,” the DMK leader said.

The leader said the DMK leadership in Chennai is of the view that the Congress-led Narayanasamy government is unlikely to make a comeback and that it may be better for the DMK to go with Jagathrakshagan’s plan and contest alone.

Of 30 seats in the Assembly, the DMK has three seats while the alliance leader Congress has 14. On the opposition side, All India NR Congress has seven seats and AIADMK has four.

Many observe that DMK’s plan may be to break away from Congress alliance and contest alone using maximum “resources” under the leadership of Jagathrakshagan who has business interests in India and abroad.

But DMK’s prospects without the Congress remain doubtful as the party has hardly any presence in the UT. Of the nine seats they contested, they had won only two seats in the last assembly polls. It was a bypoll in the later stage that added one more seat into their kitty.

While CM Narayansamy was not available for comment, sources close to him in Puducherry as well as DMK leadership in Chennai said the developments in Puducherry will not affect the alliance of both parties in Tamil Nadu. “It is now necessary these issues are to reflect outside Puducherry. Puducherry is a tiny union territory,” said a senior DMK leader requesting anonymity.

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