Puducherry: In a poll-eve u-turn on his stand over the persistent demand for statehood to Puducherry, Union Minister V Narayanasamy today favoured the former French colony to remain as a Union territory in its present form.
“We want a unified Union Territory without losing any of the constituent four regions,” he told reporters here, a stand that is in contrast to the demand of all other political parties which have been rooting for statehood for long.
Narayanasamy’s shift in stand, coming just a week ahead of the April 24 Lok Sabha elections, appears to be an apparent bid to woo the voters of other regions of the Union territory — Karaikal, Mahe in Kerala and Yanam in Andhra Pradesh.
Till now, the Congress candidate from the lone Lok Sabha seat here, had been maintaining that Puducherry should go for statehood with special status to ensure allocation of central funds.
Explaining his position, Narayanasamy, seeking re-election from Puducherry, said statehood status would be available only for Puducherry while the other three regions would be merged with the neighbouring states.
He claimed that the demand for statehood was being made only for aggrandizement of powers of politicians, and said government employees, merchants, traders and other sections of people were opposed to it.
He also charged Chief Minister N Rangasamy with maintaining “silence” on statehood plea during the poll campaign.
On the absence of Congress Rajya Sabha member P Kannan, said to be upset over his renomination, in the poll campaigns or in any party meetings, Narayanasamy said he had spoken to the former over phone and expressed hope that he would extend support to him.