Lone Puducherry segment all set for polling on Friday

Puducherry: The fate of 26 candidates in fray for the Lok Sabha polls will be sealed today when voters spread across four rgions will pick the lone MP from this Union territory.

The fight is largely confined between the ruling BJP and Congress.

BJP leader and Home Minister A Namassivayam, fielded on behalf of the AINRC-BJP combine, will face-off Congress MP and PCC president V Vaithilingam, while AIADMK’s G Tamizhvendhan is also testing his luck as a debutant.

The Union Territory has a total of 10,23,699 voters spread over Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam regions.

Polling will be held between 7 AM and 6 PM Friday. The election authorities have set up 967 polling booths in the whole of Puducherry, a much sought-after tourist destination.

Authorities have also appealed to voters to avoid using motorised vehicles to reach the polling booths to achieve ”green election.” The election is a battle of prestige between the BJP and the Congress. Although no major issue is involved in the fight, the parties and their respective contestants have made promises to the electorate that no stone would be left unturned to ensure statehood for Puducherry, located about 200 km from Tamil Nadu capital Chennai.

There are three women contestants including the Naam Tamizhar Katchi nominee R Menaka, a Siddha doctor.

In addition to local police the territorial administration had procured 10 companies of Central Armed Police Force for election duty. All polling booths are linked with webcast and micro observers would also keep close watch, District Election Officer A Kulothungan said.

Poll campaign was by and large peaceful particularly during the visit of leaders from Tamil Nadu, such as DMK President M K Stalin and AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami.

AINRC founder and Chief Minister N Rangasamy (AINRC) had been accompanying the BJP nominee during the electioneering throughout length and breadth of Puducherry and also while visiting the outlying regions.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge campaigned for Vaithilingam while BJP national president JP Nadda held a roadshow in support of Namassivayam.