C. Gouridasan Nair

Hard bargaining for three seats likely

CPI(M) keen on Kozhikode seat

Common candidate in Ponnani likely

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State committee of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) will hold discussions on sharing of seats for the Lok Sabha elections here on Saturday.

The LDF panel may not be able to complete the seat-sharing exercise with one round of discussion, as there could be some hard bargaining for at least three seats. The CPI(M) is reported to be planning to take the Kozhikode seat from the Janata Dal (Secular) in exchange for the newly carved out Wayanad seat. It also wishes to have a common LDF candidate in Ponnani, which has been with the CPI for the last several elections. There could also be some stiff bargaining over the Mavelikara seat which the CPI considers rightfully its, but where the CPI(M) would like to field its nominee. The RSP’s claim for the Kollam seat is unlikely to find any serious consideration from the CPI(M).

The two-day meeting of the CPI(M) State secretariat is reported to have resolved to take away Kozhikode from the Janata Dal (Secular). Although the CPI(M) leadership has not made any formal statement in this regard, JD(S) State president M.P. Veerendrakumar has made it known that no such proposal would be acceptable to his party. If there is strong resistance from the JD(S), the CPI(M) might have no other option but to accede to the wishes of its ally.

The CPI is also reported to be averse to parting with the Ponnani seat because it would further dent the party’s attempts to retain its national identity.

According to party insiders, the party had gone in for the extreme measure of naming the seats that would be contested by it from Delhi much before the LDF arrived at a consensus on seat-sharing anticipating the CPI(M) move.

It might offer to put up a commonly acceptable candidate on the party symbol and would go in for any further concession only if the CPI(M) is able to come up with convincing arguments to that effect.

Along with delimitation of constituencies, the Election Commission has designated Mavelikara as a reserved constituency in place of Adoor, which has been with the party in the last few elections. The CPI(M) is reportedly planning an exchange of seats, the CPI getting Pathanamthitta in place of Mavelikara. It remains to be seen how the CPI leadership would respond to any such proposal.