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Congress-DMK combine wrests power in Puducherry

Rahul in Assam

Puducherry : In a consolation win of sorts for Congress, which faced defeats in Assam and Kerala, the party in alliance with DMK today stormed to power in this tiny union territory, securing a simple majority of 17 in the 30-member assembly.

Congress avenged its defeat in the 2011 elections at the hands of AINRC founder N Rangasamy, who broke away from the national party to form his outfit and rode it to power, as the ruling party fell by the wayside bagging just eight seats.

Congress which contested 21 seats won in 15 seats. DMK emerged succesful in two segments, giving the combine a clear majority as it bucked initial trends of a close fight with the AINRC when counting of the votes polled in the May 16 assembly elections was taken up.

AIADMK, which contested the elections on its own, won four seats.

Independent V Ramachandran, backed by the People’s Welfare Alliance (PWA), defeated Congress heavyweight E Valsaraj in Mahe.

Prominent among the succesful Congress candidates are former chief minister and leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly V Vaithilingam (Kamaraj Nagar) and Pradesh Congress Commitee President A Namassivayam (Villianur).

In Karaikal South constituency, five-time DMK MLA A M H Nazeem lost to AIADMK’s K A U Asana by a slender margin of 20 votes.

Congress heavyweight E Valsaraj lost to independent V Ramachandran in Mahe.

Former Congress strongman P Kannan, who joined the AIADMK on the eve of the elections, lost to his protege K Lakshminarayanan in Raj Bhavan constituency.

The PWA comprising DMDK, MDMK, CPI-M, CPI and RSP contested 28 constituencies but drew a blank so did the BJP, which had fielded candidates in all 30 seats.

With the Congress-DMK combine getting the majority mark, the focus will now shift to choosing the chief minister.

Though none was projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, Namassivayam and Vaithilingam are front runners for the coveted post.

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