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AIADMK chief Palaniswami pitches for statehood to Puducherry

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Puducherry, Mar 30 (PTI) AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday made a strong pitch for statehood to Puducherry which has been a union territory for decades.

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Addressing an election rally to woo the support of the electorate of union territory for the AIADMK nominee G Tamizhvendhan here, he said, "It is indeed a sorry spectacle that presently an elected government in Puducherry is at the mercy of a Lieutenant Governor to take any decisions and to implement schemes." He said that there "is an urgent need to upgrade Puducherry, now a union territory, into a full-fledged state." Palaniswami said that only when the AIADMK is elected would the goal of statehood be realised.

"The AIADMK alone has the necessary courage, perseverance and relentless drive to achieve statehood to Puducherry," he said and asked the people to support the AIADMK candidate.

The union territory has a lone Lok Sabha seat and goes to polls on April 19.

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Palaniswami said that although the Congress, DMK and the AINRC had held the reins of power in Puducherry none of them strove for the betterment of the people in the union territory.

He alleged that the BJP which is in power in the Centre has not shown any interest in implementing welfare schemes for the people in Puducherry. Similarly, the Congress during its rule in the Centre did not do anything for the union territory, he claimed.

The AIADMK chief said that the drug menace was a grave issue in Puducherry and there were allegations that the drug peddlers here had nexus with drug sellers like Jaffer Sadiq in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

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He also referred to the recent incident of a nine-year-old school girl allegedly sexually harassed and murdered in Puducherry.

Such crimes were a fallout of the prevalence of drugs in Puducherry, he said, and added that law and order would also be in a shambles if the drug menace is not reined in.

Palaniswami felt sorry that the major industries like cooperatives run sugar and spinning mills and other undertakings had been closed, leaving large numbers of people in abject poverty in Puducherry.

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He said that neither the DMK nor the Congress nor the AINRC had taken any steps while holding reins of administration to reopen these undertakings.

"The AIADMK should come back to power in Puducherry in 2026 Assembly polls so that all present ills and sufferings of the people will end," he said.

He also charged the Centre for denying sufficient funds for Puducherry. PTI COR KH

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