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He shares cuppa at roadside stall

A former chief minister having tea at a roadside kiosk is a rare sight in any part of the country. KV Lakshmana reports.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2011 12:16 IST
KV Lakshmana

A former chief minister having tea at a roadside kiosk is a rare sight in any part of the country. But in former French colony Puducherry, one can run into N Rangaswamy, chief minister for two terms, doing just that, while talking to people and going through a newspaper.

Is this a down-to-earth image he’s trying to build up?

After he was expelled from the Congress following a shakeup in 2008, Rangaswamy vowed to get back at the party he had served for more than 40 years. And, in alliance with the AIADMK, he is seeking re-election for third time.

Last month he floated his own party, the All India NR Congress, and has even tied up with the AIADMK’s alliance partners. AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa has declared him the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate.

And campaigning is just an extension of what he has been doing since his ouster, meeting more and more people. On Saturday, a burst of crackers announced the arrival of Rangaswamy’s convoy at Ossudu village at the entrance of Puducherry. People came out of their homes and shops nearby in no time to wish him well. A man of few words, he would just remind the voters of the polling day and move on to the next village.

“For the last two and a half years the Congress has not implemented any of the schemes started by me. Neither have they done anything to develop the infrastructure of Puducherry,” Rangaswamy told HT.

“I will get full majority,” said he. Caste equations in the state favour Rangaswamy, who belongs to the dominant Vanniyar caste, which constitutes 60% of the population. He is contesting in two constituencies.