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France has a votebank in Puducherry

Apr 22, 2007 11:52 PM IST India India
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Puducherry: The battle for French president is also being fought out in India’s very own French pocket of Puduchery.

As 12 French presidential candidates vie for votes back in their homeland, 5,500 expats in this small town are preparing for the polls in their own little ways.

And the war strategy includes meetings, posters, advertisements and pamphlets in the mail. Self appointed election committees have been campaigning aggressively for their chosen leaders.

“We are in direct contact with Ségolène Royal. She is the best candidate and has promised to help with education, pension and visa matters,” Nara Radjavelou, French National (paradubbed)

Many French nationals in Puducherry are of Indian origin. Their forefathers had chosen to become French citizens in the 19th century after signing documents to give up their Indianness.

But their descendents are living here. Most work for the French government but finally come back to Puducherry to live on a pension for the rest of their lives.

And as French citizens, they have their share of grievances.

The French Consulate will now count the votes and pass it on to the French Government and until the results of the run-off elections are declared, this Franco-Indian community will be watching international news with bated breath.