Pondicherry, May 6: As the sun sets in the horizon, lacklustre electioneering for 27 constituencies in the Union Territory of Pondicherry comes to an end.
These constituencies, 21 in Pondicherry region and six in Karaikal region, will go to the polls in the second and final phase of Assembly elections on May 8. Polls to Mahe, Palloor and Yanam constituencies were held in the first phase on May 3.
As many as 6,06,345 voters will decide the fate of about 200 candidates.
Campaigning for the second phase was a low-key affair, thanks to strict enforcement of the model code of conduct by the Election Department. Barring minor clashes between the Congress and PMC at Cassicade, Congress and AIADMK at Ozhukarai, DMK and AIADMK at Nellithoppe and Congress and PMC at Bahour constituencies, the campaign for the second phase poll was peaceful.
The ruling Congress, heading the Democratic Progressive Alliance in the Union Territory has highlighted the achievements of the Rangasamy government in the last five years and sought a mandate for another term to do a lot more. The Opposition AIADMK-led Democratic Peoples Alliance has highlighted alleged corruption in several departments of the administration and the problem of unemployment.
Besides the Congress-led and AIADMK-led fronts, the BJP, BSP, DMDK of actor Vijayakanth and some other minor regional parties were also there in the fray. While the BJP is contesting 27 seats, the BSP is fighting 16 seats of their own. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party general secretaries V Narayanasamy, B K Hariprasad, Mukul Wasnik, secretary Sudhakar Reddy, Mahila Congress secretary Meenakshi Sharma, BJP president Rajnath Singh, BSP president Mayawati, AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, actor Vijayakanth and MDMK chief Vaiko were among the main campaigners.
Three former chief ministers - N Rangasamy, R V Janakiraman and V Vaithilingam - are in the fray. While, Mr Rangasamy is not facing any threat in his Thattanchavady constituency, Mr Vaithilingam is opposed by his own brother Muthunarayanan at Nettapakkam. Mr Janakiraman is facing a stiff challenge from OM Sakthi Sekar of the AIADMK at Nellithoppe constituency.
Former Minister P Kannan, who kept away from contest in the last election, is trying his luck from Modaliarpet after floating a new political outfit, the Puducherry Munnetra Congress.
The Election Commission's strict vigil sombered down campaigning and it picked up a little only in the final stages. Banners, posters, processions and other poll graffiti were absent this time and the campaigning was confined mainly to door-to-door canvassing.
The Election Department has made all arrangements for the poll on May 8. Adequate security personnel including Central paramilitary forces, personnel from the Indian Reserve Battalion, besides local police were being deployed to maintain law and order and to ensure a fair and free election here. Pondicherry and Karaikal regions are observing dry days for three days from today.