The usual din and bustle of electioneering was missing in most constituencies in Puducherry, hours before the curtains came down on poll campaign on Sunday. Puducherry and its outlying regions of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam go to Assembly polls on April 6 in single phase.
There are 30 Assembly segments, including five reserved constituencies. The election campaign drew to a close at 7pm.
The election is a keen contest between the Congress-led Secular Democratic alliance and the AINRC-led NDA. The chief contestants are AINRC founder leader N Rangasamy seeking election from Thattanchavady in Puducherry and the lone seat in Yanam an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh.
He has no strong adversary in the hustings in Yanam, poll observers said. The PCC president AV Subramanian is seeking election from his home town of Karaikal (north).
The AIADMK convenors A Anbalagan and Om Sakthi Segar are testing their luck in Uppalam and Orleanpet segments, respectively. Anbalagan has been holding the Uppalam constituency consecutively since 2001. Om Sakthi Segar who was elected to the Assembly on two occasions in the past from Nellithope has now moved to Orleanth which is a new turf for him.
Four former ministers MOHF Shah Jahan, M Kandasamy and R Kamalakannan are contesting from Kamaraj Nagar, Embalam (reserved) and Tirunallar, respectively. Shahjahan had been contesting from Kalapet segment all along but now he is fielded by the Congress in Kamaraj Nagar and he is pitted against the BJP candidate A John Kumar.
The election witnesses John Kumar and his son Richards fighting the poll on BJP ticket. Richards is contesting from Nellithope constituency.
Narayanasamy who headed the Congress government here since 2016 has now opted out of the poll battle. The Congress has re-fielded its woman nominee Vijayaveny in Nettapakkam and similarly the AINRC has re-fielded B.
Kobika and Chandrapriyanka in Thirubhuvai (reserved) and Neduncadu (reserved) constituencies respectively. The AINRC is seeking election from 16 seats after sharing the remaining 14 seats with BJP (nine) and AIADMK (four).
Similarly, the Congress is contesting in 14 seats and supporting an Independent in Yanam while its allies the DMK is seeking election from 13 seats. VCK and CPI constituents of the alliance led by Congress are wooing voters in Oulgaret and Thattanchavady constituencies respectively.
Yanam is a star constituency as the AINRC leader Rangasamy is contesting there. It is expected that Yanam would register the highest percentage of polling because of the hard work Malladi Krishna Rao, who had been holding the seat since 1996 is not however contesting now .
Malladi Krishna Rao was Health Minister in the last ministry. He, however, quit the post of the MLA and the Minister intensifying the crisis for the Congress rule.
Anbalagan of AIADMK and his brother A Baskar (also belonging to AIADMK) are seeking re-election from the Uppalam and Mudaliarpet constituencies respectively. Anbalagan is facing the challenge from the DMK nominee Annibal Kennedy, a former legislator.
Baskar is locking horns with an advocate L Sampath (DMK) a green horn in poll battle in Mudaliarpet. Mannadipet is another important segment as the previous PWD Minister A Namassivayam is contesting on BJP ticket.
This is a new turf for him as he had all along been getting elected from Villianoor his home town. He has been on extensive electioneering in Mannadipet.