The 2016 Puducherry Assembly election results are out. The verdict has been given by the people. And the verdict is against N. Rangasamy’s AINRC. Out of the total 30 constituencies, the AINRC has won eight, the Congress 15, the DMK two and the AIADMK four seats. For someone not attuned to the political ramblings in this union territory, it may come as a surprise. Bucking the trend observed in other assembly elections, a regional party has been defeated by Congress. But for the people of Puducherry this was a culmination of a series of events.
So why did the AINRC lose? Rather, why did Rangasamy lose? Because more than any body else, it is Rangasamy’s loss. A former Congress leader, Rangasamy quit the party to launch the AINRC after it removed him from the CM’s post. Rangasamy founded the All India N. R. Congress on 7 February, 2011. This party won 15 seats in the 2011 assembly elections that was held only three months later.
Despite much of the union territory’s proximity to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry has a psyche of its own. Which means prohibition politics and caste politics of the neighbouring state have little relevance here. A critical failure of the AINRC government has been that of not fulfilling the promise of getting statehood for Puducherry. Rangasamy shifted his loyalties to the BJP soon after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But his growing closeness to BJP did not bring much development to Puducherry. Voters have been unhappy with the lack of development as well as increasing favouritism and corruption in the union territory.
With Rangasamy contesting alone, the Congress-DMK alliance was on an advantage from the beginning itself. And as the saying goes, somebody’s loss is somebody’s gain. On the brink of losing relevance since the 2014 elections, the Congress’ win here is a face-saver for the party.
For Rangasamy, this loss is going to be a hard blow. He must make a critical analysis on where he went wrong and work to revive his party’s fortunes in the next elections from now itself.