Indian Union Muslim League likely to contest in 24 seats and CMP in three

The ball appears to be in the Congress court in the seat-sharing talks between the party and other constituents of the United Democratic Front (UDF). At the end of the second round of discussions on Wednesday, all constituents submitted their list of constituencies, and except for the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and to some extent the Communist Marxist Party (CMP), the other parties seemed not too happy with the outcome.

The Congress was able to wrap up an understanding with the IUML on the seats it would contest, but as a tactic, their leaders declined to divulge the number or the seats the latter would contest. In the case of the Kerala Congress(M), the discussions did not progress an inch.

IUML State general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty later announced that an agreement had been clinched. Sources said the IUML would contest 24 seats.

The KC(M) claimed a minimum of one seat each in all the districts, including four in Malabar. According to KC(M) sources, the party staked its claim to six seats in Kottayam. The party's core committee met later in the day to discuss the Congress offer of 14 seats. Party sources later said the Congress strategy was to reduce the numbers of its coalition partners.

JSS offered three

The bilateral talks with the JSS hit a blind alley, with the Congress willing to offer only three seats as against the party's claim of five. A JSS leader said the party centre would discuss this and respond by March 11. The Kerala Congress (Jacob)'s demand for four seats also did not find favour with the Congress, which was willing to concede only two.

The CMP settled for three seats and went on to announce M.V. Raghavan's candidature from Azheekode, but tactfully withheld the names of the other two constituencies it would contest. Sources said the Thiruvananthapuram and Kunnamkulam seats were under consideration.

The discussions with the Socialist Janata (Democratic) also did not make much headway, with the party seeking at least eight seats, but only five seats are being offered.

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