Destiny of 344 candidates in Puducherry to be decided on Monday

PTI5_14_2016_000044A Chief Minister of Puducherry N.Rangasamy (holding mike) during an election campaign in the Bahoor reserved constituency in Puducherry | PTI

Destiny of 344 candidates, including of Chief Minister and AINRC founder N Rangasamy, leader of the Opposition V Vaithiilngam (Congress) and P Kannan (AIADMK), would be decided in the election to the 30-member Assembly on Monday.

The poll is witnessing a multi-cornered contest as never before with the presence of AINRC, AIADMK, BJP and PMK, who are going it alone, DMK-Congress combine and the newly formed PWF, consisting of CPI, CPI(M) DMDK, VCK, MDMK and RSP wooing the 9.41 lakh voters in the tiny Union Territory.

The political parties left no stone unturned to take a shot at power by organising rallies and road shows in the last two months.

As some parties favoured total prohibition as promised in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, AINRC and Congress clearly stated that there was no scope for that in the Union Territory as the excise collected from liquor trade formed major chunk of the revenue.

Poll manifestos brought out by all political parties have promised several developmental programmes.

There are 344 contestants in the fray including 96 independents.

While Puducherry has 23 segments, Yanam and Mahe, enclaves of the Union Territory in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have one constituency each and Karaiakl five constituencies.

All arrangements are in place for Monday's polling and voters slips have been distributed covering around 94 per cent of the electorate, officials said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah, CPI General Secretary Sudhakar Reddy, AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi were among those who addressed the voters pitching for their parties.

Of the 930 polling booths in the Union Territory, 148 had been identified to be vulnerable.

Besides local police, Central para-military personnel have also been deployed to ensure free and fair poll.

Counting of votes is slated for May19.

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