PUDUCHERRY: The ongoing campaign for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election to the lone Puducherry constituency has been resonating with a war cry over the issue of Statehood for the UT, as witnessed in the past elections.But this time it is being projected more aggressively as a necessity after the Lt Governor Kiran Bedi’s style of functioning has reduced the elected government to a mere non-entity more prominently than ever. Not only the ruling party and its allies but even opposition parties do not like the trend of a democratically elected government being treated as a non-entity.
The Congress manifesto released on Tuesday promises Statehood for Puducherry if it and its allies come to power at the Centre. The AIADMK, DMK and MNM manifestos have also promised Statehood for Puducherry.
AINRC founder-president N Rangasamy has also been espousing the cause of Statehood though the party is yet to come out with a manifesto. During the campaign Rangasamy has been saying that his party is continuously striving for Statehood and will continue his efforts if his party candidate is elected as MP. The BJP, however, remained non-committal over the issue.
The Statehood issue has always been a regular feature in election manifestos for over two decades now, but it has never materialised. The poll promise fell flat after the elections.Though 14 resolutions were adopted in the Legislative Assembly, nothing had come out of it. The issue of Statehood is raised only when the elected government in the UT and the Central government are led by two different parties and when the Lt Governor, appointed by the Centre, poses hurdles to the elected government, says former Lok Sabha member M Ramdass.
The issue cropped up again when the AINRC government was led by N Rangasamy in the UT and the Congress government led by Manmohan Singh at the Centre. Puducherry experienced bitter exchanges between the then Lt Governor, Virendra Kataria, and the then Chief Minister, Rangasamy. The Statehood resolution was adopted in the Assembly and forwarded to the Home Ministry.