N.Rangaswamy, former Chief Minister of Puducherry and President All Indian N.Rangaswamy Congress (AINR) is likely to go it alone in the Assembly elections to be held on April 6.
The AINR Congress has been in a strategic alliance with the BJP since 2018 and was also instrumental in unseating the Congress government. However, ever since Union Home Minister Amit Shah made a public announcement that the BJP would rule the state after the Assembly elections and that the state will have a new BJP Chief Minister, N. Rangaswamy has been sulking.
BJP leader and party national spokesperson Rajeev Chandrashekhar MP, who is in-charge of Puducherry told IANS, "Union Home Minister had publicly spoken for an NDA Chief Minister and not a BJP Chief Minister. There are no issues between the BJP and AINR and if there are any differences of opinion, we will sort them out."
However, highly placed sources in the AINR told IANS that Rangaswamy will budge only if the party is provided 18 seats out of a total of 30 seats.
A senior leader of the BJP while speaking to IANS on condition of anonymity said, "BJP has to take a call in consultation with the high command. The party national leadership will be consulted and a final decision will be taken. However, there will not be any bad blood and we want to come to power in Puducherry and for that if compromises are necessary, we will take a decision".
In the 2016 Assembly elections, the AINR, AIADMK and the BJP contested the elections independently with AINR getting 12 seats while AIADMK and BJP drew a blank. The contention of the AINR is that the BJP does not have any grassroots support in Puducherry. With less than three per cent vote share, the ambition of the BJP seeking the Chief Minister's post is too high, contends the AINR leaders.
However, the BJP has done a perfect social engineering and is trying to align with the powerful Vanniyar community, which has 30 per cent strength in Puducherry.
N.Rangaswamy even after repeated calls was not available for a comment.
Rangasamy has had two stints as the Chief Minister of the Union Territory of Puducherry, first as a member of the Congress, and second time after he founded his own party.