Held in a single phase on April 6th, the assembly elections in the Union Territory of Puducherry saw a voter turnout of 81.69%, which is incidentally the highest in the southern region. Of around 10.04 lakh registered voters, 8,20,323 had exercised their franchise by the time polling closed at the 1,558 polling stations of the UT. While the counting of the votes is scheduled to take place on the 2nd of May 2021, the exit polls for the same have come in, most of which give an edge to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s National Democratic Alliance over the Indian National Congress-led Secular Democratic Alliance.
Goa Chronicle- ProtectCore exit poll
Goa Chronicle-Protect Core Exit Poll has predicted a significant win for the NDA with an absolute majority. The INC led alliance is predicted to closely follow, whereas other contenders are expected to win only a couple of seats.
|Goa Chronicle-Protect Core Exit Poll|
Even though the West Bengal and Assam elections have stolen much of the limelight, the small UT of Puducherry with just 30 seats in the Legislative Assembly has also caught all eyes due to the intense political power play that led to the elections. Just weeks before V Narayanasamy’s CM tenure was to end, his government in the UT had collapsed after failing to prove their majority. Days leading to the polling had been witnesses to a keen political struggle between the INC led SDA, comprising MK Stalin’s Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, AM Saleem’s Communist Party of India and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, and the NDA formed with N Rangaswamy’s All India NR Congress, the BJP led by A Namasivvayan and A Anbazhagar’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
In the SDA alliance, INC is contesting 15 seats, DMK is contesting on 13 seats and the CPI and the VCK are each fightings for 1 seat. Similarly, for NDA, AINRC is fighting for 16 seats, BJP for 9, and AIADMK for 5. While the INC and AINRC both have formed and led governments in the UT earlier and the BJP has not, A Namasivvayan has claimed with absolute confidence that “No party can form a government without the support of BJP.” If the NDA indeed comes to power, it will be N Rangaswamy’s return to the Chief Ministerial post.
Two alliances, one assurance: Statehood for UT
Ahead of the elections, the NR Congress had assured that it would strive to secure statehood for Puducherry so that the rights of the elected government are protected. The manifesto released by N Rangaswamy had also mentioned that it would seek an increase in Central grants to the UT to ensure the UT’s financial independence. Along with this, the party had promised to fill several vacant government posts and introduce a 10% reservation to government school students in higher education as well. Releasing the manifesto for the BJP, Union Cabinet Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the party promises to create 2.5 lakh jobs and provide special status to the Union Territory among others. The manifesto also focused on women empowerment, quality education, and development of the tourism sector.
A push for statehood was also the INC’s main agenda for the election. The manifesto envisaging concessions cutting across sectors such as industry and agriculture was launched by INC leaders V Narayanasamy, V Vaithilingam, and Veerappa Moily. It also focused on easier facilitation of higher education, formation of a separate education board in the UT, and rejection of the NEP. A slum-free Puducherry was also one of the much-highlighted points of the manifesto.
All such promises and assurances have made the currently President-ruled Puducherry a seat of the keen contest between the two major alliances and several other parties, making it difficult for the layman to predict any concrete results. But with opinion polls released earlier had given a significant margin to the NDA, which has been reflected again in the exit polls as well dispels a lot of doubts.
India Today- Axis my India exit polls
The India Today-Axis My India exit poll has projected an NDA government in the UT, with the Congress led alliance winning somewhere between 6 to 10 seats.
Republic-CNX exit polls
The Republic – CNX Polls have predicted a keen contest between the INC led alliance and the NDA, while giving a slight edge to the latter. The AINRC led by N Rangaswamy is expected to emerge as the single-largest party.
ABP- CVoter exit poll
The ABP-CVoter Exit Polls have also predicted a significant win for the NDA, with the SDA tailing loosely behind.
Jan Ki Baat exit poll
The Jan Ki Baat Exit polls have also projected a win for the NDA, crossing the halfway mark, while the SDA has been predicted for a close second.
The Polstrat Exit polls have predicted a similar result for the assembly elections giving the NDA a significant edge over its counterparts.
|India Today-Axis My India Exit Polls||20-24||6-10||00|
|Republic-CNX Exit Polls||16-20||11-13||00|
|ABP-CVoter Exit Poll||19-23||6-10||1-2|
|Jan Ki Baat Exit Poll||19-24||6-11||00|
In the last Assembly Elections in the UT, the INC had emerged as the single largest party with 15 seats and had formed the government with the DMK which had won 2 seats. The AINRC and AIDMK had together won only 10 seats while an independent candidate had conquered the seat of Mahe.
The 2016 results had brought in Puducherry a wave of change as N Rangaswamy’s AINRC had lost its absolute majority to the INC. Under present circumstances, if the current election results will bring a comeback for the AINRC with the NDA as predicted by the exit polls, or the SDA will sweep the UT refuting all predictions remains a question that the entire nation wants to be answered.
[author title=”Megha Satapathy” image=”http://goachronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_20210205_095950.jpg”]Intern, Goa Chronicle[/author]
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