In what appears to be an attempt to test the cohesion of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) has decided to contest in two of the three Rajya Sabha seats that are to be filled on June 25.
The LDF, which has 67 members in the Assembly, can win one of the two seats comfortably with its 36 first preference votes. That would leave it with 31 first preference votes which could put the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) under some pressure should the situation turn difficult for some reason.
With its 72 seats, the UDF is at present assured of two seats. If the Neyyattinkara byelection verdict goes in its favour, the situation would become much more comfortable for it. However, if the by-poll outcome favours the LDF, the Opposition alliance would get to pose a graver threat to the UDF.
The decision to field two candidates in the Rajya Sabha election was taken by the LDF State committee which met here on Thursday. The meeting, which had no other item on its agenda, allotted the seats to the CPI(M) and CPI, overlooking the claim put forward by the RSP. The seat that the alliance is certain to win was allotted to the CPI(M) and the second one to the CPI. Although the RSP leaders tried to make themselves heard, they were overruled. The CPI(M) State leadership has decided to field party State committee member C.P. Narayanan in the election.
The party has not made any formal announcement in this regard as the decision is yet to be ratified by the CPI(M) Central leadership. The State CPI leadership would announce the party nominee only after the CPI State council meeting here on June 14 and 15. Elections to fill the three Rajya Sabha seats have been necessitated by completion of tenure by P.J. Kurian (Congress), P.R. Rajan (CPI-M), and K.E. Ismail (CPI).