As Puducherry prepares to vote for Assembly Election 2016 there are some noteworthy developments happening in the union territory.
Congress is busy accusing the ruling party for not seeking funds from the Union Government for the development of Puducherry while raising the demand for statehood again.
The ruling party AINRC on the other hand is confident that various welfare schemes implemented by the Chief Minister N Rangasamy during the last five years will be able to win them another term.
Here is what has been keeping political parties and election commission busy in Puducherry:
Voter awareness programme:
As the union territory Puducherry gets ready for Assembly Election 2016 the district election officer S Sundaravadivelou launched voters' awareness programme. This is in keeping with the directives of the Election Commission under "Systematic Voters Education and Electoral participation".
For the same numerous student volunteers have been assigned the duty as ambassadors. The students are to carry out door to door contact progamme with the voters and distribute handbills.
When "Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation" was launched volunteering students were also present.
Thanks to such programmes Puducherry has witnessed huge voter turnout during 2011 Assembly Election and 2014 Lok Sabha Election. In 2011 voter turnout was 86% and in 2014 it was 84%.
Strategies of different parties:
With not even two months left for the Puducherry Assembly Election 2016 it is surprising that political parties have come up with no strategy with regards to forging an alliance or contesting the election on own.
The ruling party has kept everyone guessing as to which party it wants to form an alliance with. For 2011 Assembly Election ruling party AINRC had forged an alliance with AIADMK while for 2014 Lok Sabha Election it has forged an alliance with BJP. For Rajya Sabha polls AINRC had again allied with AIADMK last year and AINRC member and close friend of Chief Minister, N. Gokulakrishnan was elected to Rajya Sabha unopposed.
In 2011 AINRC had won 15 seats while AIADMK had won five. During 2014 election for NDA R Radhakrishnan contested and won the Puducherry seat. With the way ruling AINRC has been forging an alliance no one can for sure tell with whom AINRC will form an alliance this year.
No debate on prohibition:
Many analysts are pointing out that all political parties are playing safe while preparing their election manifestos for the Assembly Election 2016 and are not ready to talk about serious issue like prohibition.
It has been noted that Puducherry is haven for those who want to drink alcohol and so political parties are not ready to talk about prohibition as it would be a major setback as far as electoral prospects are concerned. In 1979 when prohibition was brought in Puducherry it lasted only two months. Also in 1980 Assembly Election allies AIADMK and Janata Dal had to face wrath of the voters.
Since then political parties have not tried to bring in prohibition in Puducherry. Alcohol consumption is not considered taboo in this former French colony and it is also considered a major reason for attracting tourists.
Prohibition or restricted sale of alcohol it is feared would dramatically reduce the number of European tourists. The treasury of the union territory also depends on the revenue earned from excise duty on sale of liquor.
It is worth noting that mainstream parties in Tamil Nadu talk about bringing in totalprohibition but in Puducherry they never mention or advocate prohibition. One reason could be that many candidates fund their campaigns through earnings from arrack shops that they own or manage.