With the dust settling on the formation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in TN, focus is now expected to turn on the lone LS constituency in Puducherry.
Controversy over the seat erupted when the All India N R Congress announced former Assembly Speaker R Radhakrishnan as its candidate on March 12. Party founder and Chief Minister N Rangaswamy had claimed that AINRC would be part of the NDA. However, the PMK announced the candidature of RKR Anantharaman.
A PMK leader told Express that the chief minister’s announcement that his party was part of the NDA was a self-proclaimed one and not endorsed by the BJP. He pointed to Rangasamy’s absence during Thursday’s press conference, when BJP national president Rajnath Singh announced the seat-sharing arrangements among allies in TN. Later, State BJP chief Pon Radhakrishnan listed out the constituencies allocated to the allies, besides the names of 36 parties that had extended its support to the alliance. “The AINRC did not figure in them,” the PMK leader said.
Asked about Rangasamy’s arrival at the venue and meeting with Rajnath Singh on Thursday, he claimed it was merely a courtesy call. Speaking to Express, Puducherry PMK candidate Anantharaman said he had been campaigning in the seat for the last six months.
In Puducherry, BJP State president M Viswaswaran insisted that AINRC would contest the Puducherry seat. ”Since Rangasamy had arrived late he could not be present on the dais and hence only TN seats have been announced.’’
Later, Rajnath tried to set to rest speculation with a Tweet welcoming him into the NDA. But that didn’t clarify the status of the seat allocation.