Puducherry: In a consolation win of sorts for Congress, which faced defeats in Assam and Kerala, the party in alliance with DMK today stormed to power in this tiny union territory, securing a simple majority of 17 in the 30-member assembly.
Congress which won 15 seats avenged its defeat in the 2011 elections at the hands of AINRC founder N Rangasamy, who broke away from the national party to form his outfit and rode it to power, as the ruling party fell by the wayside bagging just eight seats, including the Chief Minister's constituency Indira Nagar.
DMK emerged succesful in two constituencies, giving the alliance a clear majority as it bucked initial trends of a close fight with the AINRC when counting of the votes polled in the May 16 assembly elections was taken up.
Though none was projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, Namassivayam and Vaithilingam are front runners for the coveted post.
Prominent among the successful Congress candidates were former chief minister and leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly V Vaithilingam (Kamaraj Nagar), Pradesh Congress Commitee President A Namassivayam (Villianur).
In Karaikal South constituency, five-time DMK MLA A M H Nazeem lost to AIADMK's K A U Asana by a slender margin of 20 votes.
AIADMK, which fought the elections on its own, won four seats while an independent, V Ramachandran, backed by the People's Welfare Alliance (PWA), emerged the victor in in Mahe.
The PWA comprising DMDK, MDMK, CPI-M, CPI and RSP contested 28 constituencies but drew a blank so did the BJP, which had fielded candidates in all 30 seats.
Former Congress strongman P Kannan, who joined the AIADMK on the eve of the elections, lost to his protege K Lakshminarayanan in Raj Bhavan constituency.
3:00pm: Congress secures 15 seats, with ally DMK securing 2 votes. AINRC secured its victory in 8 constituencies. AIADMK won 4 seats.
2:00 pm: The Congress-DMK combine maintained the lead over AINRC, with a total of 17 seats, leaving the ruling party trailing with 8 seats. The AIADMK secured a lead in 4 seats.
1:00 pm: Results showed a declining trend for sitting Chief Minister Rangaswamy’s AINRC with the Congress securing a lead in 13 seats and the ruling party trailing with 9 seats. Congress party’s alliance partner DMK maintained its hold over 4 seats while Tamil Nadu ruling party AIADMK did not fare as well, trailing with just 3 seats. Despite securing the government in Assam, the BJP did not take lead in a single seat in the Union Territory.
12:15 pm: The Congress marched ahead with a lead in 12 seats in the Union Territory, with N Rangaswamy lead AINRC following closely behind with 10 seats. The AIADMK and DMK were caught in a close fight with 3 and 4 seats each. BJP though did not secure any vote base.
11:00 am: In neck and neck fight, AINRC and Congress maintained lead in 11 seats each. Though AIADMK is set for victory in Tamil Nadu, the party is trailing in the Union Territory with lead in just 1 seat, while DMK is maintaining its lead in 4 seats.
10:30 am: Chief Minister N Rangaswamy’s AINRC was inching towards a majority, leading in 10 seats, with the Congress-DMK combine losing momentum, leading in 13 seats together.
10:00 am: Maintaining its edge, the Congress-DMK alliance sustained its lead in 14 seats while Chief Minister N Rangaswamy’s AINRC still lagged behind with 6 seats.
9:15 am: The Congress-DMK combine took lead in the chase for Union Territory with 14 votes, leaving the incumbent Chief Minister N Rangaswamy’s party trailing behind with 5 leads.
9 am: DMK and INC is leading in 4, AIADMK is leading in 1, AINRC in 1.
Puducherry recorded 84.08 per cent voting in the assembly elections, which was 2.11 per cent less than the turnout in 2011.
The elections were hotly contested by ruling AINRC, Congress-DMK combine, AIADMK, Peoples Welfare Alliance and BJP.
Out of the 9,41,398 voters, a total of 7,91,511 exercised their franchise in the polling held to the 30-member assembly.
Women voters constituted 53.52 per cent of total voters who exercised their franchise while men voters accounted for 46.48 per cent of the votes. Yanam, an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh with one constituency, recorded the highest polling percentage of 92.67. Two booths in Yanam recorded cent per cent polling.
In Puducherry in 2011, the All India NR Congress (AINRC), which contested elections for the first time under this name, won 15 out of the 30 seats, having contested just 17. The Congress, which had backed the incumbent CM V Vaithilingam in an alliance, could only muster 7 seats. The AIADMK won 5 seats, the DMK 2 and Independents 1. This time, the incumbent CM is expected to battle strong anti-incumbency sentiment....