With the coalition partner, IUML staking a strong claim for presidency of Erumeli grama panchayat, the Congress unit in the district has been pushed to a difficult position.

The UDF had wrested power in the panchayat, bagging 14 seats in the 23-member council. The IUML has two seats, with the majority of the UDF being shared among the Congress and the KC(M). As such the president and vice-president posts were shared among the two parties during the first one-and-half year period, with Kerala Congress taking the president’s post.

With their tenure over, president Molly Mathew and vice-president Joy Mepral had put in their papers forcing the UDF to face elections due on February 22.

However, in spite of the demand from the IUML, the KC(M) and the Congress units have declared their intention to swap their seats and contest the elections, fielding new candidates. This has angered the IUML.

Local leaders of the IUML, Nizar Plammoottil and M.M. Yousef said the party would field its own candidates to the posts in the elections scheduled for Friday.

With this, all eyes are now on the nine-member contingent of the LDF. It is has been pointed out that at the grama panchayat level, that elected members need not always act on party lines.

As such, the IUML is also probing ways of bringing in a deep wedge between the rebel elements within the UDF team.

Meanwhile, the IUML has made it clear that in the face of the adamant stance taken by the Congress and the KC(M), the party has decided not to step down from the posts of chairmanship of various standing committees in the council.

Meanwhile, the district leadership of the parties are also looking into the possibility of an amicable compromise to the whole issue before Friday.