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Cong facing rebellion in Pondi

Notwithstanding its formidable alliance with the DMK, the ruling Congress is grappling with the problem of rebellion.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2006 12:24 IST

Notwithstanding its formidable alliance with the DMK, another major contender for power, to keep its pocket borough of this Union Territory intact in the coming assembly polls, the ruling Congress is grappling with the problem of rebellion.

After some tough negotiations, Congress, which had ruled the former French colony for a number of years since its merger with India in 1963, finalised the alliance with DMK, PMK and CPI, managing to take 16 seats in the 30-member assembly. DMK has got 11 seats while CPI and PMK are contesting from one and two seats respectively.

AIADMK is leading the Democratic People's Alliance comprising Puducherry Munnetra Congress, founded by expelled Congress leader P Kannan a year ago, the MDMK and the DPI in its challenge against the Congress-led alliance.

BJP and CPI(M) are contesting the elections on their own.

In a two-phased polls, Mahe and Yanam regions, enclaves of Pondicherry in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh respectively, go for voting on May 3 while Pondicherry and Karaikal regions, which together have 27 constituencies go to polls on May 8.

In 2001 elections, there were three major formations.

The Congress was in alliance with erstwhile TMC, which later merged with its parent party, while DMK was with BJP.

The AIADMK and PMK fought the polls together, but finished a poor third. AIADMK won two seats while PMK drew a blank.

With DMK, leading the DPA in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, giving the leadership status to the Congress here, a smooth sailing was expected for the alliance.

But with Congress left with less number of seats than the last time, some partymen who did not get party tickets have jumped into the fray as independents.

Congress also suffered a setback after last polls when its influential leader Kannan had left the party and floatd PMC.

But Congress sources claim that the party's base remained uneroded, despite Kannan's exit from the party. They said it had become the practice of Kannan to be in and out of the party.

The list of rebels include Local Administration Minister A Elumalai, who has decided to contest as an independent in Ossuddu (reserved) constituency.

The party is also facing rebellion in Yanam, Neravy in Karaikal and Mudaliarpet in Pondicherry.

In Yanam, 11 candidates, including Malladi Krishna Rao of Congress, are in the fray. Rao, an independent elected from Yanam in 2001, has joined Congress on April 6 and was given party ticket. Upset over denial of ticket, Raksha Harikrishna of Congress has filed his nomination as an independent.

Though the AIADMK-sponsored candidate is also in the contest, the main fight however is between Rao and Harikrishna, who has since been expelled from the Congress.

As far as Mahe region is concerned there is no independent candidate in either of the two constituencies -- Mahe and Paloor -- which have four contestents each.

Health Minister E Valsaraj (Congress) is seeking to record his fifth straight win in the Mahe constituencey which he has been holding since 1990.

He faces challenge from advocate T Ashok kumar of CPI(M), V Balan of BJP and K Vijayan of AIADMK.