Coalition issues, Kuttanad bypoll to figure in UDF meet

Brainstorming session here on February 25

A sense of urgency appears to pervade the United Democratic Front (UDF) as it liaison committee prepares to convene for a crucial meeting here on February 25.

The split in the Kerala Congress (Jacob) and the festering internecine feud in the Kerala Congress (M) put the coalition in the peril of looking shaky in the run-up to the Assembly byelection in Kuttanad and the local body polls later.

The referendums are widely perceived as a bellwether of the State’s voting pattern in the Assembly elections in 2021. However, electoral choices can fluctuate given that neighbourhood level issues often matter more in local body polls than in Assembly elections.

The split in the Kerala Congress (Jacob) comes at a time when the UDF has reportedly discerned a growing affinity in the numerically strong Jacobite faction in the Malankara Church with the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

The recent law allowing Christians to bury their dead in their parish cemetery irrespective of their canonical grouping is deemed to have benefited the community, which has outsize political influence in Piravam, Kunnathunadu, Muvattupuzha, Permbavoor, Angamaly and Kothamangalam constituencies, according to a UDF estimate.

Moreover, the LDF has also dangled the promise of introducing a law or promulgating an ordinance that would give elected parish councils a say in the administration of the church, a demand moved by various Christian denominations.

Members of the laity had held a massive demonstration in the capital in November to press for the enactment of the law. By some accounts, the Congress might make a bid for the Kuttanad Assembly seat in the UDF meeting, which is currently vested with the Kerala Congress (M).

The UDF is also concerned about the LDF’s overtures towards its traditional support base in the Muslim community. The coalition is likely to discuss the succession of corruption and criminal cases against its top leaders and ensure that it does not cede the initiative in the anti-citizenship law agitation against the Centre to the LDF.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:57:16 PM |

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