For Congress, it is an uphill task to retain the Puducherry seat, which it won in the previous 2009 Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the DMK.
Unlike in Tamil Nadu, it is not the Dravidian parties that are posing a challenge to Union Minister of State for PMO V Narayanasamy, who is seeking re-election from the seat, but stiff competition from the party’s breakaway group All India NR Congress (AINRC), in a multi cornered contest.
Though Puducherry is considered to be a Congress bastion and the party had won nine times out of the 11 times it contested, this time the party is isolated and have to face the elections without the support of any allies.
Though Congress expected the support of AINRC, the political rivalry between Narayanasamy and Chief Minister Rangasamy culminated in the latter joining hands with BJP.
According to political pundits, AINRC candidate Radhakrishnan will certainly cut into the traditional vote bank of the Congress. Another factor which might create trouble for Narayanasamy is caste. The predominant Vanniyar electorate which, by and large, is likely to favour Rangasamy.
As a counter strategy, Congress has roped in some Vanniyar leaders, PCC general secretaries A K D Aroumugham ,Vinayagamurthy, John Kumar (who recently joined the party from DMK) and MLA A Namassivayam to garner some of the Vanniyar votes. Rangasamy has been faulting Narayanasamy for creating hurdles in governance, implementation of schemes for welfare and development and scuttling the flow of central funds to Puducherry.
Narayanasamy’s ploy to secure a major chunk of votes in Karaikal has also suffered a setback with the AIADMK and DMK fielding candidates from Karaikal. With Rangasamy aligning with the BJP, a good number of predominant Muslim votes in Karaikal are expected to fall in Narayanasamy’s kitty, but DMK candidate A M H Nazeem is expected to corner a good number of these votes. With Indian Union Muslim League in alliance with the DMK, Nazim is expected to draw Muslim votes in Puducherry and Mahe region as well.
Narayanasamy will get a good number of votes from Yanam and Mahe and in some Congress constituencies in Puducherry, besides several pockets where the party functionaries have done good work. The people of Yanam are sore with Rangasamy for pushing Statehood which they are opposed to, and are expected to vote largely in favour of Narayanasamy, said a senior journalist from Yanam.