The All India NR Congress (AINR Congress) headed by former Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangaswamy has entered into a seat-sharing agreement with the BJP and the AIADMK combine for the April 6 Assembly elections in the Union Territory.
As per the agreement, AINR Congress will contest 16 seats while the BJP-AIADMK combine will contest 14 seats in the 30-member Assembly. Rangaswamy will be the Chief Minister if the combine is voted to power.
It may be noted that Congress Chief Minister V. Narayanaswamy had resigned last month after several party MLAs, including senior minister A. Namasivayam and Congress working president A.K.D. Arumukham, had quit the party and joined the BJP.
With Rangaswamy leading the front, the AINR Congress, BJP and AIADMK combine has increased their strength but there are undercurrents with Namasivayam also reportedly eyeing the CM's post. The picture will be clear only after a few days.
The DMK-Congress combine had contested the last Assembly elections in 21 and 9 seats, respectively, winning a total of 17 (15+2) seats to rule the state, defeating the AINR Congress. AIADMK, which went solo in the last Assembly elections, had managed four seats while the BJP had drawn a blank.
BJP state president Swaminathan told IANS, "We have signed an electoral pact with the AINR Congress, which will contest 16 seats while our combine will fight 14 seats in the 30-member House."
Leaders of the BJP and the AINR Congress were skeptical of the alliance getting through, but sources told IANS that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directly intervened in this as Rangaswamy is a powerful leader who can swing the elections in his favour.