Special Correspondent

Emerges single largest party, but gets fewer seats than it hoped

The party won 15 seats in 1991 Assembly polls It won nine in 1996, and 11 in 2001 Lack of coordination between allies reason for ordinary show: Congress

Pondicherry: The Congress in Pondicherry appears to have emerged the major party after the elections, but faces the necessity to seek the support of other like-minded parties to form a government. The Congress has only 10 members in the 30-member Assembly, but has the unconditional support of 7 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members, two Pattali Makkal Katchi members and the lone Communist Party of India legislator.

The party won 15 seats in the 1991 Assembly polls. In the 1996 elections, it was an ally of the AIADMK and won only nine seats. In the 2001 polls it contested 21 seats and won 11. It could only form a government after after allying with such parties as the TMC.

Inthe recent polls, even after the Congress' claim of Pondicherry being its stronghold, the party could win only 10 out of the 16 seats it contested. Now, the Congress aims to establish a minority government, with the outside support of its allied parties DMK, PMK and CPI.

Partymen are puzzled by its inability to win any of the four seats it contested in Karaikal. A Congress spokesman told The Hindu here on Saturday that the results reflected the lack of coordination among the DPA constituents in some important constituencies. While the Congress sincerely worked in constituencies contested by the DMK and other allies, there was virtually no reciprocal cooperation in some segments from the allies, he said.

There was palpable tension outside the premises where the newly-elected Congress legislators and leaders held talks with the party Central observers for selecting the Chief Minister on Saturday.

A large number of supporters of Chief Minister N. Rangasamy gathered outside the hotel in the morning to know the outcome of the meeting to know whether he would be made Chief Minister for the second time.

The police kept the crowd, mostly from Mr. Rangasamy's constituency of Thattanchavady, a few meters away from the venue.

Restless supporters

As the meeting was on, the crowd became restless and started shouting slogans against other contenders for the post. Twice they broke the police cordon and tried to barge into the hotel. But the police prevented them from doing so. However, for more than three hours the road was taken over by the supporters affecting smooth flow of traffic. Even before the announcement of Mr. Rangasamy as the Congress Legislature Party leader, the supporters started the celebration by bursting crackers.