PUDUCHERRY: At a time when defection from one party to another is being witnessed all over the country, the most recent one being in Telangana, Congress MLA A John Kumar’s discreet meeting with the BJP’s Puducherry unit in-charge, Nirmal Kumar Surana, has sparked speculations.
Pictures of the Kamaraj Nagar MLA presenting Surana with a shawl while alighting from a car on the Pondicherry-Tindivanam Highway has gone viral on social media. Though the MLA tried to downplay the matter calling it a casual meeting, it is significant considering that Assembly election is scheduled to be held in the Union Territory within six months.
According to sources, John Kumar has been attending to the needs of his constituency, apart from also looking into the needs of people in Nellithope, a constituency which he vacated for Chief Minister V Narayanasamy to contest and win.
The MLA has been constantly in touch with people of both constituencies, ensuring that their requests are met and doles distributed. Sources also said John Kumar has plans to seek a ticket for his son to contest from one of the constituencies and another for himself, which has led to a strain with the Congress.
On speculations of John Kumar joining the BJP, the party’s local unit president V Saminathan said, “We are not stopping anyone from joining the BJP. A lot of people have recently joined us, including actors Vijayshanthi and Khushboo. I do not know anything about John Kumar being interested in joining our party.”However, Puducherry Pradesh Congress Committee chief AV Subramanian has said that the party has taken note of the meeting and appraised the high command.
Sources said the Congress is unlikely to take any decision in a hurry, given the current political circumstances, and might act only after the announcement of polls. For John Kumar, who quit the DMK to join the Congress before the 2016 Assembly elections, joining the BJP might not be easy, given his expectations.
The BJP is in alliance with the AIADMK, and it might be tough for Kumar to get the Nellithope seat as AIADMK West convener and former MLA Om Sakthi Segar, who lost the previous elections to Narayanasamy, is expected to contest from there.
What might worry the Congress is the impact on its poll prospects if more MLAs who are unhappy with it switch loyalties to the saffron party. The Congress is already being given a cold shoulder by its ally, the DMK, which is functioning independently.
It may be noted that the DMK did not participate in agitations along with the Congress on the occasion of the recent Bharat Bandh, and instead, organised separate agitations. “We want to stand on our own strength and do what we can for the people,” said DMK South convener R Siva. The DMK is also interested in joining hands with the NR Congress, provided the party does not contest in alliance with AIADMK and BJP.
John Kumar, had quit the DMK to join the Congress before the 2016 Assembly election. Joining the BJP might not be easy. The BJP is in alliance with the AIADMK, and it might be tough for Kumar to get the Nellithope seat as AIADMK West convener and former MLA Om Sakthi Segar, is expected to contest from there.