Sathiya Moorthy in Madras
After Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, her Pondicherry counterpart P Shanmugam too is facing problems becoming a legislator.
Shanmugam's predicament has come into sharp focus, especially with the budget session of the Union Territory assembly commencing on Wednesday.
Shanmugam's mandatory six-month term for becoming a legislator ends on November 24.
Though Jayalalithaa got herself sworn-in as chief minister immediately after elections, in case of Shanmugam the inability of the Congress legislators and the party high command to choose a chief minister after elections, despite the AIADMK extending 'outside support' to the Congress-TMC government, added to the confusion.
After a lot of dithering, the high command thought it better to ask Shanmugam to take over the reins of power, even though the septuagenarian leader had cited health reasons for not seeking re-election even as an ordinary party MLA.
After being named chief minister, when the TMC walked out of the ruling DMK-led combine, a year ahead of the assembly polls, to form a new coalition under the leadership of the Congress parent, Shanmugam could not convince any of his party MLAs in mainland Pondicherry to vacate a seat in his favour.
Ultimately, he contested from the Yenam conclave of Pondicherry buried inside Andhra Pradesh, that too as an independent.
Obviously, Shanmugam's aides thought that the Congress symbol might find lesser acceptance among the Yenam voters, who were under the TDP-BJP influence in adjoining Andhra Pradesh.
This time again, Shanmugam is eyeing the Tirunallar constituency inside Tamil Nadu, and the Mahe conclave in Kerala, both of them forming part of the Union Territory, but uninfluenced by the inherited French culture of mainland Pondicherry.
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