The BJP plans to unleash a high-voltage campaign in Puducherry with a battery of central leaders as it seeks to wrest power in the union territory in the coming assembly elections. The party in-charge for Puducherry Nirmal Kumar Surana said the BJP would field about 10 star campaigners in the UT, where elections to the 30-member assembly would be held on April 6. They include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda, and Union Ministers Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani, he said.
Modi and Shah have already launched the party’s campaign in the tiny union territory. Surana, who is vice-president of the Karnataka unit of BJP, said discussions were underway with the All India NR Congress (AINRC) and AIADMK on seat-sharing for the elections and it would be finalised as soon as possible. Asked if the NDA plans to declare its chief ministerial candidate, he said, “All the matters are getting discussed”.
Surana said Puducherry Assembly Speaker VP Sivakolundhu, who quit on Sunday citing health reasons, is in touch with the BJP and would decide on joining the party in a day or two. Sivakolundhu won from the Lawspet constituency in the 2016 assembly elections on a Congress ticket. His brother VP Ramalingam joined the BJP in Karaikal in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his campaign visit on Sunday. “He (Sivakolundhu) wants his brother (Ramalingam) to contest from his constituency (Lawspet)”, Surana said.
On how many seats the NDA hoped to win in Puducherry, he claimed that according to his assessment the Congress would not be able to win even a single seat. Puducherry is now under President’s rule after the Congress government headed by V Narayanasamy fell on February 22 on being reduced to a minority following a spate of resignation of Congress MLAs and a DMK legislator.