(Eds: Adds quotes) Puducherry, Jan 31 (PTI) BJP president J P Nadda on Sunday asserted that his party would sweep the coming Puducherry assembly elections and assured people of the union territory a corruption-free and development-oriented government.
Alleging that corruption was rampant under the Congress government led by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, he said the BJP would win 23 of the 30 seats in the union territory assembly in the polls, likely in the next few months.
The BJP in the UT has received a shot in the arm with former minister A Namasivayam joining the party along with a former MLA recently.
'...for the last 35 years under the Congress rule, 52 per cent of the population in the UT is below the poverty line,' Nadda claimed, adding corruption extended to admissions in colleges offering professional courses as well.
Addressing a grand first election public meeting here, Nadda said the Congress government did not conduct local body elections for a long time and the Central seats in colleges were not allotted to Puducherry students 'due to corruption'.
While 70 per cent was the grant in aid to Puducherry from the Centre during former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's tenure, it was cut to 30 per cent when Narayanasamy became a Minister at the Centre, he claimed.
Puducherry went into a debt trap while 76 per cent of youth were unemployed and employees belonging to the cooperative sector like Khadi Cooperative Federation have not been paid salary for over four years, he claimed.
Assembly elections are expected in April or early May in Puducherry.
'When Narayanasamy was a Central minister, he waived Rs 5,000 crore loan of Jharkhand, but did not waive the loan of Puducherry,' Nadda said adding this was the type of 'justice' the present Chief Minister meted out to the UT.
Senior leaders were leaving the Congress, he said and welcomed them into the Saffron party's fold, expressing confidence that the 'lotus' was set to bloom in Puducherry and capture power.
Namasivayam, number 2 in the Narayanasamy cabinet, was among those who recently quit the Congress and joined the BJP.
He has accused the chief minister of sidelining senior Congress leaders.
'Kamalam is going to grow, Kamalam is going to blossom here in Puducherry...we will win 23 plus seats and will form a government...,' the BJP national chief said.
He assured the people of a government that would be free of corruption and focused on development of the union territory.
'Several national schemes launched by the Prime Minister had led to improvement in welfare of people and changed their destiny across the country,' he said, adding that IT parks would be developed in Puducherry to provide employment opportunities to youths.
'Kamalam (lotus) would bring in a big change in the lives of the people in Puducherry and infrastructure projects such as construction of flyovers in Puducherry and its outlying regions would be taken up for faster connectivity,' Nadda added.
The Puducherry assembly has a total of 33 seats, including three nominated seats. BJP holds all the three nominated seats at present.
'When we are talking about one nation, one ration card, we find that the ration shops are closed in Puducherry,' he said.
While the Centre was for opening more industries to nurture growth, textile mills and industrial units in Puducherry were being closed down in view of 'mismanagement' and 'corruption.' Once the BJP assumes power, salary arrears would be paid to employees, closed textile mills shall be reopened, sugar factories would be modernised and re-constructed and good quality roads shall be in place, he assured.
Speaking at the meeting, Namassivayam alleged that the union territory had fallen into a deep pit due to the 'maladministration' by the Narayanasamy government.
'We as a whole in the BJP should ensure that Puducherry was lifted out of the deep pit it had fallen into because of the administration by Chief Minister Narayanasamy,' he said.
Meanwhile, AINRC founder and former chief minister N Rangasamy along with his partymen called on Nadda here. It was described as a 'courtesy call'. PTI CORR VGN VS SS ROH ROH