By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha

Puducherry [India], April 18 (ANI): As Puducherry votes on Friday, after the curtains go up on the seven-phased Lok Sabha elections, the war of words between the BJP and the Congress during the campaign trail over the pending full statehood for the Union Territory and other issues will take centre stage and await final arbitration in the people's court.

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The leaders of the ruling BJP, during the bitter campaign trail, claimed the Congress did little in the way of granting full statehood to the UT in the decades it was in power at the Centre.

To this, the Congress leaders countered by saying that the 'Nyay Patra' or manifesto of the grand old party promises full statehood for Puducherry.

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However, while the general sense is that neither party is keen on pushing the 'statehood' demand beyond a point, there has been no letting up on the political mud-slinging on the campaign trail as the two parties have been throwing regular punches at each other over a raft of issues.

The BJP's Puducherry candidate and the Home Minister of the UT, Namassivayam has been vocal on the statehood question along with BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP S Selvaganabathy.

Selvaganabathy, in fact, went a step further as he blamed the Congress for sitting on the demand for full statehood in all the years it was in power at the Centre. Countering the charges, the Congress hit back at the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre saying that it took no step for the realisation of statehood for the UT over the last 10 years of governance.

Namassivayam said the BJP administration in the UT has focused on the development of four regions--Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam--and the efforts in this direction will continue going forward.

Meanwhile, headlining a public meeting in the UT on Monday, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge reiterated the party's promise in the manifesto, saying that the UT will be accorded the status of full statehood if the Opposition bloc--INDIA--is elected to the Centre.

Taking a swipe at the BJP for not putting their statehood promise for the UT in its manifesto, he said the Congress has listed it among its salient guarantees to the people if elected.

To this, the BJP accused the Congress of diverting the statehood issue.

Senior Congress leader and former Puducherry CM Narayanasamy will accord full statehood to Puducherry on priority if elected.

Polling for all 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone Puducherry constituency will be held in the opening phase of the seven-phased general elections, on April 19.

The polling in 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the country will be held from April 19 to June 1, with the counting of votes scheduled for June 4. (ANI)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)