The United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership appears to have finally zeroed in on a date for its liaison committee meeting after a two-month gap.
January 3 has been identified as a tentative date for the meeting as most of the coalition leaders would be in the capital to attend the State Assembly’s first session of 2014.
The UDF liaison committee could not meet for the last couple of months due to pressure on the Congress by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) pressure to sort out some issues it had raised.
The last time the UDF liaison committee met was on November 1 to protest against the stone-throwing incident in Kannur in which Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was injured.
It was more of a show of unity before, what Congress leaders term, CPI(M)’s high-handed agitation. Since then no political dialogues have taken place either in the Congress to sort out factional problems or between the UDF partners to settle differences.
The Congress high command is now putting pressure on the State Congress leaders to initiate the candidate selection process so that the list can be announced sufficiently early.
However, its insistence has only added to the confusion, because the UDF has a process in announcing its candidate list.
The issue has to be discussed formally among coalition partners.
This time, the Socialist Janata Dal is a claimant for a seat. The two seats the party has in the Assembly are crucial for the stability of the UDF ministry, which has a majority of just two in the State Assembly.
Focus on Chandy
For a major part of this month, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was focussed on completing his mass contact programmes in the districts.
Senior leaders feel Mr. Chandy should take the initiative in initiating seat-sharing discussions since he is the primary stakeholder as the head of the Government.
The UDF meeting will have to strategise its course of action since the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which is still on its agitation course against the Chief Minister, is likely to step up the pressure using the Assembly platform to gain political mileage ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.