Congress, AIADMK face worst-ever defeat

Pre-poll desertions and the absence of a Chief Ministerial candidate led to the Congress’s debacle.   | Photo Credit: T.Singaravelou

The Congress and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam suffered the worst-ever poll debacle in the electoral history of the Union Territory.

The national party which won 15 of the 21 seats it contested in the last Assembly poll declined to a single digit in the 2021 Assembly poll with three Ministers in the Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy-led Congress government losing their seats.

The party could manage to win only 2 seats out of the 15 it contested pushing the party behind in the number of Assembly constituencies won by its alliance partner, DMK. The DMK won 6 of the 12 seats it contested in the polls.

Prominent Congress leaders who lost the election are former Ministers M. Kandasamy, M.O.H F Shahjahan, R Kamalakannan, PCC chief A. V. Subramanian and former Government whip R. K. R Anantharaman.

For the Congress, its misfortunes started weeks before the commencement of the Assembly poll with ministers and legislators deserting the party citing “differences” with the party’s local leadership, especially the Chief Minister.

Interestingly, those who left the Congress to join the BJP and the All India N. R. Congress have won the election comfortably.

The Congress suffered another setback when Mr. Narayanasamy himself “abstained” from contesting the poll inviting adverse publicity to the Congress during the election campaign.

“It is anti-incumbency plus the perception generated before the poll itself that the party was not going to return to power which led to the debacle. The desertions before the poll and absence of a Chief Ministerial candidate led to our debacle. Even in 2011 Assembly poll held after Mr. Rangasamy left the party, the Congress managed to win seven seats. The party national leadership has to take a serious view of the affairs in the Union Territory,” said a former legislator.

AIADMK loses all seats

Equally unhappy about its performance would be the AIADMK leadership as the party drew a blank for the first time in the last three decades. The AIADMK, which had four members in the last Assembly, lost all the five seats it contested in the poll.

According to an AIADMK leader, the alliance with BJP had cost the party. “The party candidates in Karaikal South, Oupalam and Muthialpet lost a substantial chunk of minority votes. The party was also compelled to part winning seats such as Nellithope to the BJP due to the hard bargaining the saffron party made during the seat sharing talks,” he added.

Another key aspect of the 2021 Assembly poll, would be the victory of Independent candidates. In a record, six Independents made it to the Assembly defeating party heavy weights, including former Chief Minister and AINRC chief N. Rangasamy in Yanam constituency.

The Union Territory always had the presence of one or two Independents and they always played a crucial role in change of guards during the tenure of an Assembly.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 4:14:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/puducherry-assembly/congress-aiadmk-face-worst-ever-defeat/article34475227.ece

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