Senior Cong leader Valsaraj not to contest Assembly elections

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Puducherry, Mar 11 (PTI) Senior Congress leader and former Puducherry Health Minister E Valsaraj on Thursday announced he would not contest the forthcoming Assembly polls in the union territory as he wanted to give opportunity to the youth.

The former Mahe MLA, however, said he would remain in the party which is a 'mass-based political outfit.' 'I wanted to give opportunity for youth to jump into poll fray and hence decided to retire from poll battle,' the vice-president of Puducherry Pradesh Congress Committee told reporters at the party office here.

Valsaraj had won the lone Assembly seat in Mahe, an enclave of Puducherry in Kerala, every time since his maiden victory in 1990 and lost from the constituency in the 2016 polls.

'I have been Health Minister of Puducherry whenever Congress formed the government in the past and I have been able to ensure development of Puducherry as a whole,' he said, adding the government medical college and also a maternity hospital were planned and designed by him.

Valsaraj said he had informed the party high command about his decision to stay away from electoral battle.

He further said that he had intended to stay away from contesting the polls in 2016 but was persuaded by the party to do so.

The Congress leader had lost to an independent candidate N Ramachandran in 2016.PTI Cor SS PTI PTI